Between December 2020 and June 5, 2021, at least 936 students from secondary and tertiary institutions were abducted across the country by suspected bandits and Boko Haram members.
According to our correspondents’ findings, abductions occurred throughout the country.
Abductions were reported in Ohordua, Edo State, Effurun, Delta State, Kankara, Kaduna State, and Mahuta village, Katsina State during the period under review.
Abductions have also been reported in Kagara, Niger State, Jangebe, Zamfara State, and Afaka, Kaduna State, among other places.
Some parents who spoke with our correspondents stated that their children would not be allowed to return to school.
Alhaji Ibrahim Bageba, whose children were among the kidnapped Jangebe schoolgirls, said, “I have decided to withdraw my children from school because of the overall security situation in the country.”
“Our children are no longer at ease as a result of the widespread cases of student abduction across the country, and as such, I believe it is better to withdraw my children so that I can have peace of mind.”
Hafsat Sani, the mother of two of the students abducted by bandits during the Jangebe School abduction, stated, “Many parents are skeptical about the government’s willingness to fight banditry.” As a result, I doubt my children will return to school.
“Two of my children have been kidnapped; I will not allow them to return unless something concrete is done.”
Bem Goong, Director of Press, Ministry of Education, told The PUNCH that the Federal Government was working hard to make schools safe.
He urged state governments to follow suit.
“If you go to our unity schools, you will notice the presence of security operatives,” Goong said. During the monitoring of the 2021 Common Entrance Examination, the permanent secretary also stated that “unity schools are the safest because we have deployed security operatives there.”
The Zamfara State Government announced that boarding schools would be closed until the state’s security situation improved.
Aliyu Tukur, the state Commissioner for Education, stated, “A committee has been formed to look into the possibility of reopening the boarding schools that are not prone to bandit attacks.” We have deployed security personnel in open schools and organized workshops for school principals.”
Nnamdi Chife, a security expert, has urged President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to resurrect the Safe School Initiative.
“The government of President Jonathan designed a security strategy called Safe School Initiative, which was meant to provide comprehensive security for schools under attack by Boko Haram,” Chife explained.
“It is past time for this administration to resurrect that security program in order to provide students with a safe corridor. Otherwise, we risk losing an entire generation.”
Olalekan Ojo, another expert, stated, “School abduction is becoming a concern, and some of us have been calling for a national security summit on this issue.” A national security summit will be held, which will include school administrators, security experts, and other stakeholders.”
According to Ojo, if nothing is done urgently, the number of out-of-school children in the country could rise to around 30% of the student population.