PEOPLE had not yet come out of the trauma of the abduction of over 300 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara , Katsina State, on Friday, December 11, 2020 by bandits (they were released on 17th December, 2020), when they woke up to  the tragic news of  another mass school abduction in Niger State.

The abductors, gunmen or bandits, or whatever you choose to call them, attacked Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, around 3pm and abducted 27 students, three members of staff and 12 other family members on 17th February, 2021. They killed one student when he attempted to run away.

Therefore now in a situation of uncertainty, people, particularly the parents await the safe release of the Kagara school boys and the others.

However, if these school abductions are allowed to thrive, many people would withdraw their children or wards from school no matter how much they are persuaded otherwise. This is particularly in the case of female children, where they may be sexually assaulted and even become pregnant in the process.

This is not to forget the abduction of 110 school girls of Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, on 19th February, 2018. Though they were released in March, one girl, Leah Sharubu, is still in captivity on account that she refused to abandon her Christian faith and accept Islam, as demanded by the Boko Haram abductors.

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Then the Chibok girls! This was the first of such daring atrocities and people couldn’t believe that it was possible. In April 2014, Boko Haram brazenly attacked Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State and abducted 276 students. While many were released over the years, however many are still being held.

In this regard, the question that begs for answer is whether we should be accustomed to school abductions as the ‘new normal’ instead of the anomaly it is. It is given that the more frequent a thing happens, the more people tend to ‘get used’ to it and if this were to happen, the future of education in our society is in danger.

This is because in spite of poverty and dilapidated schools, some parents are determined to send their children to school, to secure their future.

One woman told me: “The way I am suffering because I didn’t go school, I don’t want my children to suffer.”

But people are skeptical when VIPs and those that can afford it have many policemen as their security, while leaving the masses to their own devices, so they resort to forming vigilante groups by many names to protect themselves and contribute money to pay them.

However, if these school abductions are allowed to thrive, many people would withdraw their children or wards from school no matter how much they are persuaded otherwise. This is particularly in the case of female children, where they may be sexually assaulted and even become pregnant in the process.

In such a harrowing scenario, the government would not be able to do anything for you. The damage has being done for ever and ever, as we used to say in primary and secondary schools in those days.

By the way, the government should secure schools; even boys’ schools should have a fence, after all, should armed men just walk into a school with a fallen fence, abduct or kill students, the government is responsible for negligence.

Another telling point is that the schools don’t have adequate security. The usual excuse would be that Nigeria doesn’t have enough policemen. This may be true with less than 400,000 policing the estimated two hundred million Nigerians.

But people are skeptical when VIPs and those that can afford it have many policemen as their security, while leaving the masses to their own devices, so they resort to forming vigilante groups by many names to protect themselves and contribute money to pay them.

The government should do all it can to stop the bandits from school abductions and raiding villages among other forms of criminality.

We are always hearing of millions of out of school children in the North; we don’t hope to see it escalate through school abductions. The future should not be bleak!

We hope for the release of the Kagara school boys and others and every other person in captivity.

(This article had written and forwarded for publication before the Zamfara school kidnapping)

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