The Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), the umbrella body of researchers in all Federal Research and Development Institutions (RDIs), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intensify all the efforts being made to rescue the 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization (FCFM), Afaka, Kaduna.
The Union in a letter addressed to President Buhari and copied to all the security agencies, also called on government to beef up security in schools nationwide.
In the letter which was signed by Comrade Theophilus Ndubuaku, Secretary General of ASURI, the union said the present state of health of the abducted students is best left to one’s imagination.
The union said, “The abduction of these innocent students – 26 female and 13 male – is a matter of urgent national security interest which has further raised the eyebrows of international human rights communities as the third kidnapping from an academic environment, among numerous others, this year. Without any iota of doubt, this casts dark clouds on the image of the nation at a time when direct foreign investment is being sought left, right and centre.
“Your Excellency, while we acknowledge your effort in curbing these incessant security breaches through the recent change in the service chiefs as a way of creating a robust and effective security force, we still believe, with all due respect that banditry and kidnapping are not being challenged enough as the criminals involved in these acts are growing more confident and more daring by the day.
“In praying that no harm befalls any of the kidnapped students, we call on the Federal Government and the security agencies to double their efforts to act more swiftly and rescue the kidnapped students unharmed without further delay.
“For the umpteenth time, ASURI maintains that the wanton neglect of research and Science and Technology (S&T) by successive Nigerian governments since independence is the underlying reason for the challenges of insecurity and other national malaise which are currently threatening to dismember the fabric of the Nigerian nation thereby pushing the nation to the brink of a failed state. It is stated in the National Policy on Science and Technology of Nigeria, 1986 that “Science and Technology have been the critical instruments used to uplift the economy of any country…The springboard of Science and Technology is Research…”
The union stated that Nigeria is currently bedeviled by high unemployment rate, mass poverty and hunger, resulting in insecurity, insurgency, assassinations, ritual killings, cybercrime, kidnapping, prostitution, human trafficking and slavery, emigration, maternal and child mortality and life expectancy of 54.5 years whi h is owest in West Africa.
“It is in view of this fact that schools, especially in the North, have become soft targets for bandits, kidnappers and all, ASURI hereby calls on the government to beef up security in academic environments nationwide.”