From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
In a message to Nigerian Christians as they celebrate this year’s Easter, Senator Uba Sani (APC – Kaduna Central) urged prayers for the safe return of all hostages taken by criminal gangs across the country.
While wishing Christians in Nigeria and across the world happy Easter celebrations, Uba Sani, a forerunner for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket in Kaduna State, urged them to spare some thoughts for fellow brothers and sisters still in captivity.
‘We thank the Almighty God for seeing you through the physically tasking but spiritually uplifting Lenten Season. May all your sacrifices be rewarded,’ the senator said.
He noted that many families in Nigeria today are in distress, facing psychological torture and emotional trauma as terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements make life unbearable for people across communities.
‘The latest in a series of abductions is the Abuja -Kaduna Train incident. The abductees have been moved to Shiroro Local Government in Niger State by terrorists. From the North West to North Central to South East, it is a trail of blood and tears.
‘Terrorists and kidnappers have been having a field day. A few days ago 70 persons were abducted from communities in Plateau State. We must not forget that the Chibok School Girls, Leah Sharibu, four female students of College of Health Science and Technology, Tsafe, Zamfara State, and others across the country are still in captivity,’ he said.
He recalled that in a statement issued in August 2021 by UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins, a scary picture was painted of the havoc school abductions have been wrecking on educational institutions in Nigeria.
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‘According to him, an estimated 200 Nigerian students are believed to still be held after school abductions that have plagued the country since December 2020.
‘More than 1,000 have been abducted in these attacks from December 2020 to date,’ Uba Sani recounted.
He also referred to another worrying report by Amnesty International on Thursday, April 14, that gave further startling statistics on the abduction of school children.
‘According to AI’s Nigeria Director, Osai Ojigho, ‘of the more than 1,500 school children, who have been abducted in Northern Nigeria since the Chibok attack on April 14, 2014, at least 120 remain in captivity. They are mostly schoolgirls, and their fate remains unknown.
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‘Of the 276 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok by Boko Haram, 109 are still unaccounted for. Of 102 students, who were kidnapped from the Federal Government College in Birnin Yauri, nine are still being held by their captors.
‘One of the 121 students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State remains in captivity.
“Five of the 19 students abducted from Greenfield University were brutally murdered, while one of the 333 students kidnapped in Kankara, was also killed.
‘Five of the 276 students kidnapped in Dapchi were killed, while one student, Leah Sharibu, remains in captivity. Five of the 136 school children kidnapped from Salihu Tanko Islamiya School in Tegina have also been killed,’ he pointed out.
‘The Senator described the situation as totally unacceptable, saying Nigeria must not allow terrorists to destroy education and mortgage the future of the nation’s children.
‘Let us take our challenges to God Almighty. The Federal Government must reinvigorate the war against terrorists and other criminal elements. Our country has bled enough.
‘I urge us to seek the face of God in this Easter period for His divine intervention in the affairs of our country. May He touch the hearts and minds of the evil ones in our midst so that the bloodletting can stop. We must restore the dignity of the human person.
‘May we also pray to the Supreme One to continue to guide and strengthen members of the Security Forces as they battle terrorists, insurgents and kidnappers. May He expose the fifth columnists in the Security Forces so that the efforts of our patriotic servicemen and women would start bearing fruits.
‘I salute the courage, patience and resilience of the good people of Kaduna State. You have gone through a lot in the hands of terrorists, insurgents, kidnappers and other agents of destabilisation.
‘The government is not resting on its oars. Please continue to support the government and the security agencies as they battle these enemies of the people. Better and more effective strategies are being fashioned to make life unbearable for the merchants of evil,’ he said.