Ibrahim Babangida, former military president, and former head of state, Abdulsalam Abubakar, have urged the federal and state governments to employ all possible means to secure the release of students, teachers and other abducted victims of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State.
The former leaders expressed concern over the continuous stay of the students with bandits.
The two elder statesmen, while referring to the breakdown of negotiations between the abductors and the government, stated that although they do not support government dialoguing with the bandits, they will give a nod if it is the best way the release of the victims can be secured.
The former military leaders spoke differently when they received a delegation of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), led by its chairman and Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi.
“The safety of the children is of great importance for now. We want them to come out safely without anyone being hurt. Any measure the government takes to secure their release will be okay,” Babangida was quoted as saying.
Abdulsalam said: “Dialogue is not the best way but when you are the one wearing the shoe, what will you do. Our children have been abducted for over five days, even if you know where they are, it will be foolhardy to storm there and fight them because there may be casualties.
“Sometimes there is a need to see the best way you can talk to these heartless people to see how you can get these people released. But dialoguing is not the best way.”
Proffering solutions, they said the responsibility lies with the law enforcement agencies to put up strategies to prevent future occurrences.
“Going forward, it requires a lot of planning and thinking but these problems can be overcome. The law enforcement agencies need to work together to map out new strategies on how to deal with the problem,” Babangida added.
On his part, Abdulsalam said: “The best way is to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and for it to succeed, the security agencies need to step up their game.”
Abdulsalam further urged the governors to stop inciting speeches and take their responsibilities seriously.
There are reports that the abductors have threatened to starve the victims to death, if their demand is not met quickly.