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CDD: Pampering bandits will make things worse

CDD: Pampering bandits will make things worse
March 02
16:38 2021

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has accused governments at various levels of pampering bandits, a measure it said will lead to more “heinous crimes”.

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The centre also said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has “failed woefully” in efforts to address Nigeria’s security challenges.

Reacting to the rescue of students kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara state, the centre urged the federal government to revisit the Safe School Initiative to deter further abductions.

The students were among the more than 700 schoolchildren who have been kidnapped by bandits in just three months.

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The students abducted from Jangebe have all been released, but there are concerns about the government’s approach in managing the situation; many believe bandits are paid ransoms to release those held hostage but the government has denied this.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the CDD said stakeholders must unite to map out “workable strategies” that would ensure that every child seeking education is protected.

“Efforts should also be made to ensure that all abductees in captivity are released by their abductors without succumbing to any form of amnesty or ransom. The trauma of families with children in the hands of such deadly criminals can be better imagined,” the centre said.

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“It is a slap on the face of the entire country that common criminals have turned the national space into a lawless, chaotic, and non-habitable place.

“It is most unfair to the long-suffering citizens of Nigeria that the Buhari government has woefully failed to stem the tide of insecurity. It is not tenable that Nigerians, especially young people seeking an education, can no longer do so in a secure, peaceful, and conducive atmosphere.”

The CDD asked the government to adopt a holistic approach to deter further attacks, as the present administration can no longer “continue to hide its head in the sands in the hope that the wave of the kidnapping of schoolchildren will simply go away”.

“In fact, from the evidence on the ground, the bandits will become even more daring, especially as they have been getting generous financial returns from hefty sums paid to them as ransom,” the group said.

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“The government, therefore, needs to effectively perform its primary function of ensuring the security of lives and property of all Nigerians. In this regard, CDD warns that the resort to measures meant to placate and pamper the criminals responsible for these abductions will lead to further heinous crimes.

“Importantly, the government should revisit and update existing school security policies such as the Safe School Initiative. Subsequently, a common national template involving the security agencies and communities should be activated to respond to the current threat of mass abductions.”

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