Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
A Pro-democracy and security watch group, Voters Assembly, VOTAS has warned the Federal Government that treating criminals who abduct children from their schools with kid gloves can discourage parents from sending their wards to schools.
The warning was contained in a statement signed by the Convener of VOTAS, Comrade Mashood Erubami.
He said, “kidnapping of students and subsequent closure of schools is a terrorist masterstroke that can kill the spirit of education for all; capable of discouraging parents from sending their wards to schools and subsequent closure of schools with its extendable possibilities to other states of the country.”
The human rights group condemned what it described as the seeming indifference being exhibited by the security agencies on the series of dastardly killings of innocent men and women by the Boko Haram Insurgents and disgraceful kidnappings of school children all over the Northern states.
This, he stated, was a bad indication of government ambivalence to security issues and called on all levels of government to begin to take security issues much more seriously.
On the recent criminal abduction of a large population of students and killings of some of those kidnapped in Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states, VOTAS said it was a new day heartbreaking reminder to governments that the act of terrorism, armed robbery, kidnappings and banditry should be meted with serious consequences.
The group reiterated that the outbreak and the spread of insurgency in Nigeria must not be treated with levity so as not to encourage the current upsurge of violent attacks by usually ‘unknown gunmen’ against the people of Nigeria warning the security stakeholders to rise against sending wrong signals for the systematic disrespect for the human rights of thousands of innocent people being murdered on daily basis.
“No one found to be committing criminality as a way of extorting money must be considered under any guise for amnesty and should never be given lucrative space for negotiation”. It should be no retreat, no surrender!”
The group also reminded that it is the government and citizens responsibilities to defend the security and welfare of the generality of Nigerians, through eradicating the variants of insecurity that puts lives and property and by extension people’s welfare at great risks in Nigeria.
It, therefore, called on the government to formally engage the city’s stakeholders to play their historically inclusive roles, as sovereign safeguards of their territories for the safety of properties and lives in their society.
” All levels of government should work with communities to nip in the burd the dastardly acts of inhumanity to man and woman in the forests and urban areas and deeply reflect on public safety while striving to eradicate all the variants of insurgency and other forms of its variants that terminate lives and waste properties”, the group concluded.