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Deputy governor: We’re negotiating for Niger pupils’ release — we won’t pay ransom

 

Ahmed Ketso, Niger deputy governor, says the government has commenced negotiations with abductors of children kidnapped from a school in the state.

 

Gunmen had attacked the Salihu Tanko Islamic school in Tegina town, Rafi LGA of Niger state, on Sunday, and kidnapped more than 100 children.

 

According to NAN, Ketso who spoke with journalists on Wednesday in Minna, the Niger capital, insisted that the state will not pay ransom for the children.

 

Ketso added that the government is also aware of ongoing negotiations between parents of the abductees and bandits.

 

The deputy governor, who noted that the government had established contact with the abductors, urged residents to report any information on the activities of the bandits to security operatives.

 

According to him, the “Niger state government is negotiating the release of the abductees, and we are confident that in no distant time, the pupils will be united with their parents.”

 

“Government is in touch with some of the parents of the kidnapped children. They have been assured of the safe return of their wards,” he added.

The deputy governor also said the government has also banned all commercial motorcycle operators, as part of efforts to curb insecurity in the state.

 

He added that the ban will take effect from June 3, but private motorcycles could operate between 6am and 9am daily.

 

“These are parts of measures being put in place by the government towards addressing the rising security situation in the state, especially Minna, the state capital,” he said.

 

“We have so far given 89 operational vehicles, 283 operational motorcycles, 30 bicycles, four tricycles in addition to funding the various security operations in the state.

 

 “These are in addition to 70 vehicles and 2,300 motorcycles as mobility support for the vigilante corps in the state,” Ketso said.

 

According to him, the government had also converted all boarding schools across the state to day schooling scheme until further notice.

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