Parents of the abducted students of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School in Tegina, Niger State, have opposed the decision of the government to deploy a military operation to rescue the students from their abductors.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, said in Minna on Monday that government wanted to use the military to raid the forests where the girls are being held but the parents opposed the plan because of the likelihood of a collateral damage to some of the girls.
Matane said: “Government wanted to use the special security corps it launched in mid June to enter the forests and confront the bandits but the parents of the kids begged that they would not like to lose any child. The parents came and begged us to allow them exhaust all the peaceful means to secure their children and that’s why we halted the operation.
“You know this type of operation will end up in collateral damage. We know where these bandits are; we are monitoring their movement.”
Matane said the government has a policy of not paying ransom to bandits because the money paid has been discovered to be used to buy more arms and ammunition with which they intimidate ordinary citizens.
He disclosed that the state government has been singlehandedly funding all the security operations in the state, adding that no fewer than 1,000 soldiers, policemen and men of the local vigilante are catered for on a daily basis.
Matane, who expressed gratitude to the personnel, said, “We as a state gives daily allowances to these security operatives. We provide vehicles, sometimes boots, and allowances to boost the morale of the men and also food and medications to these gallant officers”.
He said the greatest challenge being faced by the government in the battle against banditry is how to overcome the internal saboteurs, disclosing that “informants and other merchants of terror have posed the greatest clog in efforts to end the menace.