The President has asked to state governments “to review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles, warning that the policy might boomerang disastrously.”
President Buhari gave this warning on Friday via his Twitter handle in reaction to the recent abduction of 317 schoolgirls from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara.
The president also stated that state and local governments must play their part by being proactive in improving security in and around schools.
Gunmen were said to have arrived the school in the early hours of Friday and abducted the schoolgirls bringing confusion to both parents and community.
The President had in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, also sent out a strong warning to bandits and their sponsors, noting that his administration would not succumb to the bandits’ blackmail.
He described the latest abduction as inhumane and totally unacceptable, sending out a strong warning to bandits and their sponsors.
The president said that “this administration will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments.”
According to the President, “no criminal group can be too strong to be defeated by the government,” adding that, “the only thing standing between our security forces and the bandits are the rules of engagement.”
“We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits,” he said, stressing that “our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.”
President Buhari noted that “a hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors.”
He warned the bandits: “Let them not entertain any illusions that they are more powerful than the government. They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or irresolution.”