Kebbi Governor Atiku Bagudu said he was prepared to kit up and storm the forests to rescue abducted students and teachers of the Federal Government College, Birni Yauri, who were kidnapped from their school by bandits.
Mr Bugudu said other state governors too have signed up to undertake the valiant expedition with him.
The governor declared his resolve when a group of local hunters visited him on Saturday. The meeting coincided with the visit by the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and his Jigawa State counterpart, Badaru Abubakar, in solidarity following the abduction.
Mr Bagudu, however, said he will discuss modalities of the operation with his colleagues and security agencies, so as not to jeopardise the ongoing operations to rescue the abducted students and staff.
“But, we will go out there and like I promised, the day we will move out, I will not be in the office because we will join you in the field,” he boasted.
The Kebbi governor said that this would be done barring all consequences in a bid to rescue the abductees.
Mr Bagudu argued that: “It is not weapons that win wars, but it is the will that bad people cannot triumph and we will show that we have enough will power.
“President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies have been doing the best they could with limited resources.
“But, we also need to mobilise, kit ourselves and take on these bandits. Our various scriptures as Muslims and Christians allow us to put our lives at risk in defence of our honour, property and our faiths.
“In what the bandits are doing, they have challenged all of us, so we can’t let them.”
The governor charged the hunters to go back and fully mobilise, pending when he gets the necessary clearance from the security agencies, adding, “we will meet in the field.”
He maintained that governors were not sworn in only to sit down in the office and work.
Mr Bagudu stated that they are aware that one day they would be required to lead in the field, even though they are not military or police personnel.
He said that if hundreds of thousands of people can be mobilised during campaigns, the same should be done now to join the search party.
He said: “What happened in Birnin Yauri should be the last straw. We should follow these bandits wherever they are and take them on.”
Mr Bagudu also described the abduction as very callous, even as he lauded the security agencies, management of the school, ‘Yan Sakai and vigilantes for their heroic efforts since the bandits struck at the college.
Commiserating with Mr Bagudu, Mr Fayemi said he was in the state as representative of Nigerian governors in solidarity with the government and people of Kebbi to also commiserate over the unfortunate incident of banditry attack at FGC Birnin Yauri.
He commended the efforts of the governor in making sure that schools in Kebbi get the necessary protection.
He also acknowledged the efforts of the security for putting up a good fight against the bandits in the school.
“We are here in solidarity with our brother, the governor of Kebbi State, and all the good people of Kebbi State on the unfortunate incident in Yauri,” he said.
The governor also charged the local hunters and the vigilantes to go after the bandits, annihilate them and bring back the school children.
“We know as leaders of local hunters you will fight them in the bush and defeat them.
“Whatever you can do to make it the last one in Kebbi, please put up the effort,” he charged the hunters.
Earlier, leaders of the local hunters told the governor of their readiness to join the fight against the bandits until the school children are all rescued.
“We have no fear of going to any bush, we have our magical skills but will not disclose them here until we are in the bush,” the leader of the hunters in Gwandu emirate, Hassan Muhammad, Sarkin Dajin Sarkin Gwandu, told governor Bagudu.
Similarly, other leaders of the local hunters from Argungu and Augie local governments reaffirmed their resolve to lend a helping hand in the rescue operation.
“Our local hunters would join the operation as they are also ready to sacrifice their lives for the mission to succeed.”
They requested for logistics assistance from the government for their members and the vigilantes.