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Outrage over massacre of students in Yobe

•Canada condemns killings 

•APC, ACF ask Boko Haram to lay down arms

By Wisdom Patrick (Lagos), Stella Odueme-Omona (Abuja) and Emmanuel Nzomiwu (Enugu)

Boko HaramAn outpouring of outrage from across the world on Monday trailed Sunday’s massacre of students of the College of Agriculture, Gujba near Damaturu, Yobe State, by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists.

No fewer than 40 of the students were murdered by the hoodlums who invaded their hostels in the dead of the night while the victims were still asleep.

Canada and Amnesty International (AI) were among the first beyond Nigeria’s borders to react to the massacre on Monday.

In a statement, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, said: “Canada strongly condemns Sunday’s terrorist attack on a college in north eastern Nigeria. The perpetrators of this abhorrent act targeted innocent students while they were sleeping.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend my deepest sympathies to those injured in the attack and to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. We sincerely hope that the perpetrators of this despicable act will be brought to justice.

“Canadians stand united with the Nigerian people in deploring terrorism. We will continue to assist the people and Government of Nigeria as they strive to improve security and uphold the rule of law,” he stated.

Africa Deputy Director at the Amnesty International, Lucy Freeman, said in a statement that: “Since 2012, we have seen an escalation of lethal attacks against students and schools. On top of the tragic loss of life, children are being prevented from accessing education.

“It is high time for the authorities not only to investigate these deplorable incidents and take those responsible to justice but to take measures to prevent them.”

The group recalled that since the beginning of 2013, the attacks appeared to have become more targeted and brutal, and frequently happen when schools are occupied, and teachers and pupils are now being directly targeted and killed.

“Boko Haram and any affiliated armed groups or individuals in northern Nigeria must immediately stop all attacks on schools, students, teachers and pupils.

“This is a deplorable and absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education,” said Freeman.

Pan-Northern socio-political group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), called on the Boko Haram insurgents to lay down their arms and embrace peace.

The ACF said this in its goodwill message to mark the nation’s 53rd Independence anniversary.

The statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, said, “Nigerians have reasons to celebrate because the independence gives freedom for Nigeria to take its destiny into its hands by determining the content, shape, direction and pace of its socio-economic development needed for national solidarity and welfare of all.

“There is no doubt that the nation is experiencing hard times. But Nigerians should not allow transient challenges to set their national agenda.

“On the contrary, difficult times should bring about national grandeur, purposeful leadership and the best in every one.” the statement added.

Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) called on Boko Haram to immediately cease all attacks and embrace dialogue in the interest of national peace and security.

In a statement in Warri on Monday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party condemned the latest attacks, calling the killings dastardly, senseless and indefensible.

APC called on traditional, religious, political and opinion leaders in the affected areas to intervene urgently to end the cycle of violence being perpetrated by the terrorist sect.

‘’It is clear that this Boko Haram menace cannot be resolved by the government alone, hence all stakeholders must urgently intervene to complement government’s efforts to end the insurgency and get those behind it to embrace dialogue.

‘’There can be no justification for Boko Haram to continue to kill and maim innocent citizens, especially because the victims are not just fellow Nigerians like them, but most are actually their kith and kin,’’ APC said.

Another report on Monday said the Inspector General (IG) of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, has queried three senior police offices in the North East zone over the killings.

The police boss said it was disheartening that gunmen would waylay and attack police officers and kill some of them without any reprisal attack by his men.

Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, also condemned the massacre.

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