MORE Nigerians and the international community have expressed outrage, following the killing of students of Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, Yobe State, on Tuesday morning by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members, as death toll rose to 59.
Reporters at the scene said more bodies from the assault had been found and brought to the local mortuary.
Yobe State governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, who toured the ruins of the school on Tuesday, denounced the failure of the military to protect the teenage students.
Shortly before the attack, the governor said the few soldiers assigned to protect the school were withdrawn for no reason.
Although there had been no claim of responsibility, local officials were blaming the Boko Haram sect for the attack.
In a statement on Wednesday, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, condemned the killings, adding that “no objective can justify such violence.”
Speaking through his spokesperson in Nigeria, he extended his condolences to the bereaved families and hoped that the perpetrators would be brought to justice shortly.
ACF slams Jonathan
The Pan Northern socio-cultural organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), on Wednesday, accused the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government of not doing much to curb the continuous killing of innocent souls in the North-East.
ACF, in a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Mohammed Ibrahim, said it had followed with concern the controversy generated by the reaction of the Federal Government to the remarks made by Alhaji Kashim Shettima, governor of Borno State, on the level of equipment and morale of Nigerian troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgents.
To examine the development, the statement said the ACF leadership met at an emergency session at its headquarters in Kaduna, adding that in attendance were, among other senior members, Lieutenant-General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi, Alhaji Adamu Fika, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, Major-General Garba Duba, Air Vice Marshal Mukhtar Mohammed, Colonel Hamid Ibrahim Ali, Colonel John Paul Ubah and Ambassador Adamu Mohammed.
He said at the end of the meeting, the forum resolved that various security measures taken by both the federal and state governments had achieved limited success.
“What appears more visible to the victims and the suffering public are the plethora of security checkpoints, roadblocks, security cordons, etc being mounted by the troops.
“Sadly, these measures appear to be more effective as avenues for corruption, extortion and maltreatment of civilians than in deterring the activities of the insurgents,” it added.
Although, the Federal Government had disowned the alleged plan to replace Governor Shettima with a military administrator in Borno, ACF said it felt compelled to underline its resolve to stand by the governor, while it called on the National Assembly to ensure no further harm was visited on Shettima.
Killing extremely shocking –PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it has been grief-stricken since it received the news of the gruesome killing of 43 students in Yobe State.
The party, in a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, on Wednesday, described the attack and killing of the harmless students as “monstrous and extremely shocking.”
It added that “the massacre of these harmless students cannot be justified under any guise. Indeed, the PDP is heart-broken and extremely devastated by this act of wickedness, which can only be associated with the devil.”
It condoled with parents and families of the deceased children and Yobe State government over the development, adding that “we share in their anguish, their pain and their despair and we earnestly pray that those behind this act must not escape judgment for spilling the blood of the innocent. No man commits such wickedness and gets away with it.”
While urging Nigerians to unite against terrorism in the country, the PDP said “Nigerians must jettison all political partisanship and rally round President Jonathan in his efforts in tackling the problem of insecurity in the country.”
The party commended President Jonathan for the measures so far applied in fighting insurgency in the country and urged the people to continue to pray for the nation and give support to the security forces.
It’s an open declaration of war –Mark
Senate President, David Mark, condemned the killings of students of Federal Government College in Yobe State by suspected members of Boko Haram, saying the time has come for the government to stop senseless killings.
Senator Mark, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday stated that the gruesome and cold blooded murder of the students was not only condemnable, but was an act of brutality against innocent children.
He stated that the insurgents had no justification to kill students who neither offended them nor committed any crime
“This open declaration of war on everybody, especially defenseless students, cannot be justified. This is inhuman, animalistic and barbaric. It is unthinkable that this is happening in Nigeria.
“It is also curious that under an emergency rule, when security operatives should be on red alert, this mayhem still persists. Honestly, this calls for soul searching and I believe the security authorities must rise to this challenge,” he said.
The Senate president sympathised with the government and people of Yobe State, especially families of the bereaved, saying that the terror was not just national but an international threat that called for bravery.
Senator Mark also condoled with the government and people of Benue State over what he called unabating killings in parts of the state, on account of clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers.
It’s horrendous –Tambuwal
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, described the killing of the students as ignoble, wicked and horrendous.
In a statement issued in Abuja by his special adviser on media and public affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal tasked security agencies to redouble their efforts and change their tactics, especially now that those engaged in the killings had increased their attacks on softer targets.
He said the only way to console the families of the victims and Nigerians was by fishing out perpetrators of the dastardly act and bringing them to justice.
“While we must all join hands to bring this insanity to an end, we must, however, bear in mind that we are running out of excuses in our responsibility to our citizens,” he said.
Sultan calls for special prayers
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, on Wednesday, urged Muslims in the country to pray for peace to reign in the country.
Abubakar, who is also the President-General of Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI), made the call in a statement issued in Kaduna.
The statement was signed by the Secretary General of JNI, Dr Khalid Aliyu and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The Sultan advised Muslims nationwide to recite the Al-Qunut special supplication in all mosques across the country during the five obligatory daily prayers.
He said the prayers were necessary to ward off further “human or natural catastrophe.”
The traditional ruler condemned the killing of students in Yobe, saying it was a senseless killing perpetrated by criminals.
“The barbaric and heinous attack is utterly condemnable in its totality,” the Sultan said.
He recalled similar attacks in the past and called on the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property of Nigerians, especially the North East.
Senate directs army to relocate to Borno
The Senate Committee on Defence and Army, headed by Senator George Thompson Sekibo, on Wednesday, asked the army to immediately relocate its operational headquarters to Maiduguri, Borno State, to curb incessant killings by the Boko Haram sect.
The Senate also asked the military to henceforth provide security for all schools in the North-East.
Senator Sekibo, who stated this when the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Kenneth Minimah, led a team to defend the 2014 budget of the army, stated that the directive to provide security for schools in the North-East had become imperative, following the killing by Boko Haram elements.
Senator Sekibo stated that the committee would also embark on a tour of the zone upon its resumption on March 11.
General Minimah, however, told the committee that the army would soon subdue Boko Haram.
“The Senate condemns the atrocity being unleashed by the Boko Haram element on innocent citizens of the country, especially in the North Eastern part. We regret what happened on Tuesday in the killing of innocent students in cold blood.
“The Committee on Defence and Army has, by this, issued a directive that the Chief of Army Staff take the following actions: re-strategise on possible new ways of curbing these excesses; mobilise all available military resources and face the insurgents; we heard of your planned relocation to Maiduguri; we hereby, as the committee overseeing your activities, direct that your office relocate temporarily to the 7 Division in Maiduguri and that you take urgent and appropriate steps to quell the situation; and from today, all schools and health institutions should be provided with special security, as we do not want a repeat of these killings of our innocent citizens,” the Senate committee ordered the army boss.
The committee added that it would receive the budget proposal of the army without going through the lines, “as no one goes to town square to dance when there is fire in his house. For us, quelling this insurgency and giving confidence of safety to Nigerians is of utmost priority.”
Also, the Senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, condemned the killing, insisting that the attacks had gone beyond the realm of reason.
In a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, the Senate leader said the killings by the sect was plunging Nigeria into “a bleak and blank future.”