In less than three months, Nigerians especially those from the Northern part of the country had witnessed mass abduction of school children by armed bandits terrorizing the region.
It is no longer news that bandits have deviated from their normal activities of blocking roads, attacking worship centres and others but may have discovered a ‘lucrative’ business in abducting school children who are highly vulnerable and poorly secured.
Recall the incident that occurred in Katsina State on December 11 2020 when gunmen raided the Government Science Secondary School, Kangara on motorbikes and marched over 600 boys into Rugu forest.
The abductees who were subjected to inhuman treatment, spent about a week in captivity before they were released.
Meanwhile, some prominent Nigerians including Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, have accused the Federal and Katsina State Government of staging the abduction, stressing that it was orchestrated by the government.
Recall also that on February 16, 2021, armed bandits again stormed Government Science Secondary School, Kagara in Niger State and abducted over 41 persons most of whom were students and staff of the school.
It was reported that the bandits who appeared in military uniform, overpowered the security guards on duty, before whisking away their victims.
After 9 days in captivity, the Kagara students were freed by their abductors on Saturday.
Reacting to their release, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, commended the nation’s security and intelligence agencies and the government of Niger State for their responses in securing the release of the victims.
“We are happy they have been released,” he said.
Meanwhile, just as Nigerians were in jubilation over the release of the abducted Kagara Students, another bad news hit them as armed bandits invaded the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State and whisked away over 300 schoolgirls.
Despite efforts by the state government to rescue the students, the schoolgirls are still with their abductors as at the time of filing this report.
Several concerned Nigerians who spoke expressed worries over the activities of bandits across the country.
A parent, Mr James Aondoka said he has four children in a boarding school but is worried over their safety as bandits now target school children.
He said, “How do I sleep when the lives of my four children are at stake? Who knows where the bandits would attack next?
“Even the security men in those schools are not safe, how much more our vulnerable children?
“The government needs to urgently do something to stop this ugly trend before it turns to something else”.
Another parent, Tope Afolabi said in Abuja that the effect of the abduction on the school children is overwhelming, even as their learning ability would be affected. He also claimed that many would develop psychological problems.
“Subjecting this little children into such horrible experience has the tendency of affecting their learning in the future”, he said.
Similarly, the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) on Sunday, appealed to the Federal Government to tackle the menace of kidnapping in Nigerian schools.
Mrs Laraba Shoda, National President of NCWS, made the appeal in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Shoda said frequent cases of kidnapping “are not good for the education of our children.
“The attack on school children, particularly on girls, is targeted at demoralising, not only the girl-child but also others from having access to education.
“We, hereby, demand that just as the government rescued the boys at Kankara in Katsina and the Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe, it should in the same vein, rescue the Zamfara schoolgirls in the quickest time possible,’’ she said.
All efforts to speak with the Police Spokesman, Frank Mba, proved abortive as he was unable to take calls and could not also respond to text messages forwarded to him.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday assured Nigerians that the abduction of schoolgirls from the Government Girls Science Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State would be the last to happen in the country.
Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika while leading a federal government delegation to sympathise with the people and government of Zamfara, stated this on Sunday.
According to him, new measures had been developed by the Federal Government to ensure that such incident does not happen in any part of the country again.
“The President is saddened by the abduction of the students from Jangebe and reassures you that the government has all the resources and wherewithal to contain these criminals.“
The federal government will continue its partnership with Zamfara State government and its citizens in resolving the security challenges facing the State,” Buhari said.