Kankara kidnap
Ona Ekhomu

* accuses govt, school authorities of negligence

By Evelyn Usman

Security expert, Dr Ona Ekhomu, has called on Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State, to take his place as the Chief Security Officer of the state, by personally leading the rescue operation of the 333 students that were abducted last Friday, at the Government Science Secondary School, GSSS in Kankara Local Government Area of the state, by insurgents.

He reminded that every day that passed, sealed the fate of the abducted students.

Describing the kidnap as a well-planned operation, Ekhomu, in a statement signed by his Personal Assistant, Tope Adesuyi, accused the Katsina State government and the school authorities of negligence, over failure to conduct risk assessments that would have enabled them to predict the attack on the school.

Ekhomu, who is president of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operations of Nigeria, AISSON stated that “the attack was foreseeable and preventable. School authorities stand as surrogates of parents to the students. The authorities have a duty to anticipate security threats and take steps to mitigate them so that students are not harmed by malevolent actors such as armed bandits”.

“Testimonies of students who escaped the mass kidnap indicate that the event was well-planned and well-resourced.

“The logistics of moving over 330 captives indicated that the school was targeted. The mass kidnap is obviously an incident of ransom kidnap. However, some schoolboys may be killed by the ruthless terrorists.”

Warning that more school attacks should be expected in the North-West states, he, therefore, advised Gov. Masari to adopt the Makama strategy to recover the boys.

He said: “As the Chief Security Officer of Katsina State, Governor Masari has a duty to lead the fresh pursuit as every day that passes seals the fate of the Kankara boys.

“Governor Masari should, therefore, adopt the Makama strategy to recover the boys. He should use the Military, Police, civil defence, private security, Yan Sakai, hunters and other security resources available and march into the bush in hot pursuit. Stories of the escaped youths could serve as investigative leads.

“The Governor must lead this effort personally as leaving it to the federal security agencies alone might not produce desired outcomes.

“Since kidnapping has become common currency in the Northwest, the security agents are no longer committed to ‘hot pursuit’ or ‘fresh pursuit’.

Explaining the Makama strategy, Ekhomu, recalled that ” In July 2019, four pastors of the Redeemed Church were kidnapped along the Benin-Sagamu Expressway near J-4 Town. Then Ogun State Commissioner of Police Mr. Bashir Makama led hundreds of security operatives, vigilantes and civil volunteers into the forest and the line strategy paid off as he successfully rescued the captives in August 2019.

” Schools are hereby advised to conduct risk assessments to get an accurate picture of the security threats facing them and how the threats can be mitigated. Schools should also have policies and procedures on security of their population”, he stated, even as he called for robust security awareness training to acquaint students and staff with information on how to recognize threats and respond appropriately.


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