No fewer than 190 students have been reportedly abducted in Nigeria between January and October 2023.
A timeline of reported students’ abductions showed that most of the abductions happened in northern Nigeria.
Perturbed by this prevalence, stakeholders in the education sector have called on the government to do the needful before the issue of mass kidnapping gets completely out of hand.
The President of the National Parent and Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said the development has become a matter of national concern.
“We are not at peace with what is happening. There is levity on the part of the government. Parents are doing their best to give their children a good education, but now they have no rest regarding the safety of those children.
“Abduction of students has increased beyond our imagination. If schools are protected as they should be, bandits won’t have access to them.
Danjuma lamented that “The array of security personnel deployed to politicians and public office holders should be reduced and such sent to our schools to provide cover.
“Bandits and kidnappers cannot have access to our politicians and public officeholders, but they can go to our schools and pick up students, teachers and others effortlessly. That is not fair enough,” he noted.
Also, in his response, the Chairman of ASUU, University of Lagos, UNILAG, Chapter, Prof. Kayode Adebayo, described the situation as a national calamity.
“It is a serious matter. The government has been making promises all this while. What strategy do we have as individuals to protect ourselves?” Adebayo said.
“It is a serious issue and it is like those bandits and kidnappers have laid siege to the education sector and they want to kill it.
“Economic hardship does not make one a criminal. The government should wake up to its duties and responsibilities. Have the abductors not declared war on the education sector? The government should not fold its arms and continue to allow these miscreants to have a free reign.
People are no longer safe anywhere. People cannot move from one place to the other without fear. How many kidnappers have been arrested? People continue to pay ransom to regain their freedom and we watch as if that is okay”.
The South-West Coordinator of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Comrade Alao John, said the government should improve the security apparatus around schools nationwide.
“We are concerned about the development and we are not happy about it. Students want to be educated and not become victims of abduction”, John said.
Reacting, the Director of Press Affairs, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Ben Goong, said the government was doing everything possible to stem the ugly tide.
“The Safe Schools Initiative is one of the steps taken by the government to tackle the menace. We are complementing the efforts of security agencies, whose duty is to protect and secure places such as schools. I think those security agencies are in the best position to say what they are doing about the issue,” Goong said.