By Adesina Wahab
With the incessant kidnapping of innocent students in schools in some parts of the country by bandits, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, and the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, on Friday said they would shut down schools since the lives of students and teachers are no longer safe.
Speaking in separate interviews with Saturday Vanguard, the National Secretary of the NUT, Dr Mike Ene and the Southwest Coordinator of NANS, Kappo Olawale Samuel, noted that it was apparent that some people were all out to discourage and put a setback to education in Nigeria.
They were reacting to the abduction of about 300 girls at the Government Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State late Thursday night.
“These abductions here and there are deliberate steps to discourage education and encourage school drop out. It is unfortunate that schools have now become soft targets and we appear helpless. I watched a video yesterday where Shekau said anybody who identifies with Western Education is their enemy.
“You can see that by targeting boys-only schools and girls only schools, their aim is to discourage both males and females from going to school. We will not succumb to their threat and harassment. We are still battling with the Kagara boys matter and now this one.
‘We won’t also hesitate to shut down all schools if the lives of the students and teachers are not safe. The Zamfara State Governor said his amnesty programme is working, where is the result now? It is like if you are shaking somebody with your right hand and the person is slapping you with his left hand, won’t you let go, ” he said.
Ene said the government should adopt the Safe School Initiative to make our schools safe from Intruders.
“All the schools should be fenced and the walls high so that anybody who manages to scale it would do that in a way that he would make noise that would attract the attention of security people. Also, also schools should have military and local vigilantes guarding them. The local vigilantes would help provide necessary security information and tips for the military to work on, ” he added.
He also called for the deployment of sniffer dogs in the schools.
Ene also challenged the new Service Chiefs to come up with tactics that would stem the tide.
“A new broom is supposed to sweep better than the old one. We are expecting the new military leaders to hit the ground running. We all know the situation we have on hand and nobody among them is a stranger to the country and what we are contending with, ” he said.
On his part, Olawale noted that the government has failed woefully in its duty to protect the lives and properties of the citizens.
‘We have lost confidence in the government and the government is not doing enough and the needful to curb this trend. The national leadership of NANS will hold a meeting soon on the matter and we will embark on rallies and shut down all the schools because we cannot continue to toy with the lives of our youths, ” he said.