Nigeria is sick and needs drastic healing — IKIMI
People gather inside the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Nigeria, Saturday Dec. 12, 2020. PHOTO: AP

By Adesina Wahab

Some stakeholders in the education sector have called on the Federal Government to do everything possible to put an end to the incessant abduction of students in some parts of the country.

They are of the view that with the way students are being abducted in different parts of the country with little or no resistance, some people are now afraid that the trend has come to stay and what Nigerians would have to live with. 

This, they noted, is not in the best interest of education in the country and the image of the nation internationally.

The stakeholders, who spoke with our correspodent on the recent kidnapping of some students and teachers at the Federal Government Girls College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State, challenged the government to put an end to the menace, describing it as an evil spirit that must be exorcised. 

They include the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, and the Unity Schools Old Students Association, USOSA.

“NAPTAN, which spoke through its National President, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said parents are not folding their arms, but that the government should live up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens.

“We are discussing with hunter groups across the country to help us secure our schools since it seems government security agencies are not able to cope for one reason or the other. The hunters we are going to engage will work in schools in their localities.

“We must put an end to the practice of turning innocent children to items of negotiation with criminals. Our children should not be turned to what some people haggle about. They are not items of merchandise.

“Abduction of students is not normal and we must not turn it to something that we would have to live with. It is not, and cannot be part of our national life or seen as such by anybody. Crime is crime and a criminal is a criminal,” he said.

For the NUT, the Secretary- General, Dr Mike Ene, decried the ease with which the abductors operate and move from one point to the other.

“Today, it is Niger, tomorrow it is Kaduna, where are we heading? It is like when one attends a funeral service and the preacher says nobody knows who will die next. Our schools have become soft targets for these criminal elements.

“My sympathy goes to NUT National President who is from Kebbi State and the state governor who is teacher-friendly.

“If a unity school owned by the Federal Government is attacked, what becomes of other schools? Unity schools have students from across the country and even from outside the country. The schools are supposed to be protected but see what has happened!

“Nobody knows what these criminal elements feed the innocent students with. If they give them hard drugs and maltreat them, some of the students could become addicted and become social deviants. That is not a plus for our society. Whatever it takes, this must stop,” he said.

USOSA, which is the umbrella body of all ex students of Federal Government-owned secondary schools, condemned the growing attacks on schools.
The National President, Mr Lawrence Wilbert, said the tragedy must stop.

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“USOSA views this latest onslaught on innocent school children as utterly insane and wicked. We deplore the reprehensible attempt to truncate the academic pursuits of Nigerian children and the country’s peace and security. 

“The Association therefore insists that the government should immediately secure the safe return of all the abductees, and apprehend the perpetrators and master-minds of the attack. 

“The President and other leaders of the nation must awaken to their responsibility. They must act now.

“In concert with the military and other security agencies, they should rejig strategies aimed at effectively routing the bandits, insurgents and kidnappers and ending the gruesome reign of terror.

“Security intelligence, surveillance and other proactive measures should be reinforced and broadened to beef up security in the land. 

“The procurement and deployment of drones, prompt installation of functional close-circuit television, CCTV cameras in all schools, at strategic places including churches, mosques, markets and other public places would not be out of place.

“Perimeter fences should immediately be erected around all schools. Concrete measures must also be taken to secure our national borders, and seek all necessary international support. 

“Furthermore, all the insurgents, bandits and kidnappers who have already been apprehended by the security agencies should be promptly prosecuted and made to face the full wrath of the law so as to serve as deterrence to their cohorts. 

“Special focus should be on identifying and penalising their sponsors too. And our security forces must be sufficiently trained, equipped, funded and motivated. Nigerians must not be left at the mercy of unconscionable, ignoble outlaws.

“Indeed, our politicians and other elites must rethink their snail-speed, slothful attitude and lackadaisical response to the security challenges of the nation. They must uphold their oaths of office and act in the interest of Nigeria irrespective of their political, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic differences.

“They must earn their upkeep and the trust of Nigerians whose mandate they claim to have received. They must do the needful to put an end to the inglorious carnage and desecration of our land.

“Finally, we urge the security agencies to restore hope by ensuring that there is no recurrence of such brigandage.

“Their professionalism and efficiency whilst on international assignments are globally acclaimed. We expect that they would acquit themselves even better at home,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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