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Kidnapping: HURIWA seeks establishment of National Guard to man federal highways

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Amid an unending spate of kidnapping across Nigeria, civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Monday, urged the Federal Government to establish a National Guard made up of special forces to man the nation’s highways including the notorious Abuja-Kaduna Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where cases of kidnapping of road travelers have been recurring.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, denounced the total failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to stamp out the menacing trend of kidnapping-for-ransom and general insecurity that has made the country very unsafe.

The group also condemned the serial abduction of schoolchildren from boarding schools across Nigeria. According to reports, a 16-year-old abducted female student of Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State, gave birth to a child in captivity recently.

The young mother was among 11 remaining female students yet to be released after gunmen abducted over 100 students and eight teachers and killed a police man in the mixed boarding school on June 17, 2021.

Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The serial abduction of schoolchildren in boarding schools is alarming and there seems to be no end in sight to the social malady. The memories of the Kankara, Kagara, Chibok, Dapchi, and other mass abductions are still fresh in the minds of conscientious Nigerians and these incidents still evoke electrifying shock.

“However, rather than come up with solid strategies to forestall such large-scale kidnapping by terrorists, the Federal Government has been snoring, leaving marauders to have a field’s day while subjecting hundreds of parents to psychological torture and untold mental stress.

“HURIWA demands the immediate release of the 16-year-old abducted schoolgirl in Kebbi and her mates still in custody. They must not be allowed to become another Leah Sharibu. The Federal Government should be shameless for once and get them released immediately.

“It is on record that about 53,418 Nigerians lost their lives to non-state actors between May 29, 2015 and October 15, 2022 under President Muhammadu Buhari, according to data obtained from the Nigerian Security Tracker, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations of the United States of America.

“All highways in Nigeria have either become death traps as a result of dilapidated roads or kidnappers’ dens. Such roads include: the Abuja-Kaduna road, the Otukpo-Eke-Ugbokolo-Otukpa highway, Birnin Gwari-Kaduna road; Kaduna- Saminaka-Jos road, Niger Suleja – Lambata, Bida road, Enugu-Ugwogo-Nsukka Road; Nsukka-Adani-Onitsha Road; 9th Mile-Nsukka-Makurdi road; Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Ebonyi Enugu-Abakaliki Expressway; Abakaliki-Afikpo Expressway; Amasiri-Okigwe Expressway; Ivo-Oso Edda road, Benin-Auchi road; Ogbemudia Farm; and Benin –Ore-Lagos expressway.

“The attacked passenger train along Abuja-Kaduna on March 28, 2022 is still fresh and the nation is yet to recover from it.

“HURIWA denounce the total failure of President Buhari to command the armed forces to clinically embark on rescue missions. This typifies absence of any sort of governance capacity. This abysmal failure is the character of this government in almost eight years which goes to show that voters must vote for a young and vibrant statesman to lead Nigeria in the next year’s election.

“HURIWA calls for the establishment of a NATIONAL GUARD to be made up of special forces drawn from all wings of the armed forces to be dispatched all across the Federal highways and some state notorious highways to stamp out kidnappings and other related terrorism against soft targets.”

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