Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to armed groups in the country to release all persons being held captive, including the students from the Greenfield University in the restive northwest state of Kaduna.
Buhari made the appeal even as he welcomed the release of close to 30 students who had been abducted from a forestry college in Mando, Kaduna, in March.
Buhari also vowed to do all he could to improve the security situation of Africa’s most populous country which has been plagued by a series of kidnappings and attacks by armed groups since December last year.
“I again appeal for the release of the students of Greenfield University and all other citizens held in captivity. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Nigerians live in a country where everyone can move where and when they want—without the fear of kidnapping and banditry,” Buhari said in a statement.
In April, an unknown number of students were kidnapped from Greenfield University, and a staff member was killed during the raid. The remains of three students, who were shot dead, were later discovered.
Buhari urged law enforcement agencies and the public to practice “steadfastness and security awareness” to help the West African nation restore law and order.
Buhari also criticised a section of political leaders whom he accused of exploiting the existing situation in order to gain political mileage.
“Let me once again condemn the increasing politicization of security in Nigeria, by opportunistic politicians. All hands must be on deck to achieve enduring peace and security,” he said.
Armed groups referred to as “bandits” have frequently carried out kidnappings in Nigeria for ransom payments. Since December, hundreds of people, including schoolchildren, have been abducted highlighting the country’s deteriorating security situation.
On Wednesday, the state commissioner for internal security and home affairs Samuel Aruwan said Nigerian troops had rescued 13 kidnapped people after a fierce gun battle.
Later that day, an unknown number of students of Abia University, who were traveling by bus, were kidnapped by a group of gunmen near the city of Okigwe in the neighboring Imo state.
Buhari, who rose to power in 2015 making a pledge to tackle insecurity in Africa’s most populous nation, maintained that Nigeria will overcome this challenge.