From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Director-General, All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman, has described as embarrassing the abductions of over 500 school children at Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Kankara, in Katsina, saying the incident is an indication that nobody in Nigeria is safe.

In a statement he issued in Abuja titled, “Nigeria’s national security embarrassment must be brought to an end”, Lukman challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate his no-nonsense credentials which had earned him the love of ordinary Nigerians.

The PGF DG expressed concern that Nigerians have become used to waking up with shocking news about the latest kidnappings, armed banditry, violent attacks and murders of innocent citizens by Boko Haram in the North East and in other parts of the country by bandits and criminals.

The statement reads:

‘The abduction of 500 school children at GSSS, Kankara, Katsina State by Armed Bandits on Friday, December 11, 2020, at Katsina State is painful, shameful and embarrassing. This is the kind of information that is only associated with folklore or tales by moonlight. Sadly, in this case, it is a true-life event. This is embarrassing and it means that nobody, NOBODY, in Nigeria is safe.

‘For a country of over 200 million people, with 371,800 police personnel, this means about a policeman/woman to more than 500 citizens. Acknowledging that there is already a plan to recruit an additional 280,000 police personnel – which will increase the total number of police personnel in the country to slightly above 650,000 – it means, in the end, the police to citizen ratio will come to about one police to over 300 citizens.

‘In comparison, Ghana with about 30 million people has 23,000 police. Guinea with about 12 million has 10,000 police, Kenya with a population of more than 51 million, has 95,000 police, South Africa with less than 60 million population, has 193,000 police.

‘Outside Africa, the USA with over 320 million population has 686,665 police, UK with about 66 million people, has 124,784 police personnel, Brazil, with 210 million population, has 436,514 police, Malaysia with about 31 million people, has 102,000 police personnel.

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‘Everything considered, it will appear that number of police personnel in Nigeria may not necessarily be the problem, although many security experts believe strongly that it is indeed an issue. Issues of capacity with reference to equipment, training, intelligence gathering, moral, etc. are also strong factors, which need to be immediately addressed. Outside the police, other arms of the security agencies are faced with similar challenges.

‘Every day, Nigerians wake up with grieving information about kidnappings, armed banditry, attacks and murder of innocent citizens by Boko Haram in the North East and in other parts of the country by bandits and criminals. Often, Nigerians get worrisome reports about how some of our security personnel and traditional rulers collude with criminals to successfully execute attacks on citizens, including kidnappings and other criminal activities, which consumed the lives and properties of innocent Nigerians.

‘Certainly, without the collaboration of security personnel, traditional rulers, community leaders and citizens, how can over 500 school children be taken without clear information of their whereabouts for more than 72 hours.

‘Elementary knowledge of the area in question will convince any discerning mind that it is either the kidnap of GSSS Kankara students was done by combined operations of security personnel, traditional rulers and community leaders in the area or the security personnel, traditional rulers and community leaders are collaborators in the exercise.

‘Given that those who carried out the kidnap would have passed through villages and communities to where they may be hiding now, how much information has been volunteered by the adjourning security posts, traditional rulers, community leaders and citizens in the villages in the routes leading to the location where these school kids are being held hostage?

‘Or could it have been the case that more than 500 people can sneak pass security post and villages without being seen by both security operatives, traditional rulers, community leaders and citizens? It is difficult to avoid the suspicion that a whole community or village may be playing host to these kidnapped children.

‘This clearly reflects how rotten our Nigerian society is. This is not a simple matter of deciding on choices. It is a matter of life and death,” he noted in the statement.

Writing further, the PGF DG noted: “More than any moment in the life of our APC administration at the federal level, this is the time when President Buhari is dearly required to demonstrate his no-nonsense toga, which is what earned him the love of ordinary Nigerians.

‘If he will move to arrest all security personnel, traditional and religious leaders who are suspected to be accomplices to the current wave of kidnappings, the murder of Nigerians and all the organised crimes taking place in the country, Nigerians will strengthen their support for our government to bring to an end this atrocious activity clearly syndicated by callous citizens, which may be supported by some security operatives, traditional rulers and community leaders. Enough is enough!’