Abduction: fear grows in the North as parents worry over children’s safety

In view of incessant kidnapping of pupils of secondary schools across states in the Northern region, parents, guardians and stakeholders have expressed grave worries over the issue, with many of them saying it portends a bad omen for education in the region that is already educationally disadvantaged.

Mr Kabir Sani, a parent whose daughters were among the 317 female students kidnapped at Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State two days ago, said he has not eaten since the abduction. Sani, who spoke with Sunday Tribune, called on government to deploy soldiers to school and if possible recruit jobless youths in each community to support in securing schools.

He called for the deployment of technology such as drones to track and monitor the activities of bandits. Some residents and parents in Sokoto State who spoke to Sunday Tribune, appealed to the government at all levels to beef up security around schools in the state.

They commended the state governor for being proactive in closing the schools at the border town across the state. One of the parents, Mallam Mutiu Ismail, disclosed that with the recent happenings, none of his children or relative will attend boarding school in the country.

He condemned the security situation in the country as not only bad but also portending danger for the education sector in the region.

“The situation is getting out of control in the country, especially for some of us in the Northern part. “If you look at the situation critically, the so-called bandits are the extension of Boko Haram, especially if you look at their antecedent of kidnapping school children within the school premises.

“I believe their aim is to discourage parents from sending their wards to school for fear of being attacked or kidnapped,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Suleiman Nasiru, who is an educationist, noted that the decision of the Sokoto State government to shut schools in border areas contributed a lot to the safety of students in the state.

Speaking to Sunday Tribune in Kaduna State, Mr Liadi Olapade, president Yoruba community and chairman, Ansar-ud-Deen Society, lamented the development which he described as disturbing.

“If you study the trend, you will see it is gradually becoming a daily occurrence now. The issue now is not even about the abduction or the money involved, but the fear.

“Now parents are not comfortable sending their children to public schools, even though the private ones too are not spared. These hoodlums, nobody knows their next target. So, education is being threatened in this part of the world.

“Government must create an environment where people will feel secure. If you are not secured, you are not going to put your money there. It will dampen the spirit of those who want to invest in the education sector.

“I have a feeling that the future of our children is really under threat by these frequent kidnappings. We cannot educate our children in this circumstance. What future do they have if we cannot give them education?

“So, government should engage in massive recruitment of security personnel to be deployed to schools. Roads close to schools too should have security operatives manning them. Also, schools whether public or private, should be fenced,” he advised.

A lecturer at the University of Abuja, Dr Musa Olaofe, lamented the breakdown of security in the country. “I felt seriously disturbed. If they cannot secure our schools now, let us know. If they cannot defend our schools, let us know so that we can know what to do as parents.

“So, leaders should be up and doing. If they cannot secure our schools, they should give way to people who will do it,” he said.

The interim president of the North-East Baptist Conference, Reverend Ishaku Halilu, while commenting on the development, challenged the government at all levels to stand up to securing the country and its people. He declared that nobody is safe in the country any longer as people now live in perpetual fear of what could happen next as they go out for their daily businesses.

Halilu opined that until the security situation improves, all boarding schools, particularly in the Northern part of the country, should be closed temporarily in order to save the lives of the students.

Also speaking, Mohammed Tukur, likened the development to the fulfillment of the prophecy by Chief Obafemi Awolowo that the children of those we refused to give education will not allow us to sleep. He, however, said it was not necessary to shut down the schools but called for drastic measures to be taken urgently to safeguard the lives of the students. Mrs Rabi Adamu, also a parent, said she had withdrawn her children from boarding schools, noting “I prefer to take the stress on a daily basis than watch my children kidnapped, though security is that of God.”

She called on the federal government to look into the security apparatus of the country and make necessary changes that will make Nigerians repose confidence in the security agencies. 

 

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