The House of Representatives emphasized on Thursday that President Muhammadu Buhari must do all in his power to ensure the release of the remaining 51 Nigerians seized in the Abuja-Kaduna train incident as soon as possible.
Kidnappers who had held 11 hostages since the March 28 attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train recently released them.
The spokesman to Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, the cleric acting as go-between for the government, and the attackers, Tukur Mamu, had said that 51 people were still being held captive.
However, the lawmakers on Thursday noted that stories told by 11 of the hostages recently released by the kidnappers depict the increasing deteriorating condition of the remaining hostages including children and women who are getting malnourished, emotionally distressed and psychologically traumatized for over 70 days in the forest.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Bamidele Salam, Hon Julius Ihonvbere and nine other lawmakers.
Bamidele in his lead debate, observed that Section 14(2b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government; Section 17(2b) of the 1999 Constitution states that the sanctity of the human person shall be recognised and human dignity maintained and enhanced.
“The House notes that in the last 10 years, terrorism, banditry, kidnappings and other forms of violent crimes have become a raging security epidemic in different parts of the country.
“The House is alarmed that according to the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), since 2018, there has been a rapid increase in kidnapping, with a rise from 987 victims in 2018 to 1,395 in 2019.
“The House is worried that the figure of kidnapped persons increased to 2,865 in 2020 and 5,287 in 2021. The House is further worried that over 70 per cent of victims of kidnappings are children, women and elderly persons who were violently attacked and captured by criminals in the normal course of their daily activities on the farms, villages, roads, worship centres and other places.
“The House is concerned that a large number of these kidnapped citizens have remained in captivity for so many years, months and days without any form of sustained help to secure their release or any social, medical or economic support to their grieving family members by Government.
“The House is worried that some of the unresolved cases of kidnappings include the remnant of the Chibok girls kidnapped in 2014, the kidnap of Leah Sharibu since February 2018, the Islamiyya School students kidnapped in Niger state on May 30, 2021, the Bethel Baptist High School Kaduna students kidnapped on July 5, 2021, and the Federal Government College Birni Yauri students kidnapped on 21st of October, 2021.
“The House noted that in the current year 2022, there have been over 100 cases of kidnappings and abduction of innocent Nigerians; One of the most disturbing being the case of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack of March 28.
“The House is saddened that during the train attack, 168 Nigerians were reportedly kidnapped, while 8 persons were killed including a young Doctor due to travel out of the country, the week the incident occurred.
“The House is concerned that the abductors of the train attack recently released pictures and video footages of 62 victims held hostage in terrible, physical and emotional conditions with a threat to kill them if their demands were not met by the Federal Government.
“The House is bothered that the hostages include children aged 2, 5, 7 and 9 years; men nursing bullet wounds sustained during the attack; a victim had his leg amputated; diabetic patients, while others are citizens with various health challenges as well as a nursing mother.
“The House also note that stories told by 11 of the hostages recently released by the kidnappers depict the increasing deteriorating condition of the remaining hostages including children and women who are getting malnourished, emotionally distressed and psychologically traumatized for over 70 days in the forest.
“The House is concerned that if nothing urgent is done to secure freedom for these citizens and hundreds of others in captivity across the country, there may be an increasing loss of confidence in the government which may embolden criminally-minded persons and groups to step up these acts of criminality and thus endanger the stability of our dear country.”
To this end, the House directed relevant committees to ensure compliance.