Fatima attends the LEA primary school in Anka Local Government area of Zamfara state. She treks to school with her peers since their parents cannot afford the modern means of transport for the young girls. Being one of the brightest students the school boasts of, Fatima is naturally every teacher’s favorite. A few months ago however, she was stopped from attending school due to recent incidents of abductions within the school premises.
Quite unfortunately, Fatima’s neighbour happened to be one of the victims and there’s still no news of his whereabouts from the kidnappers. Like Fatima’s parents, a lot of parents have decided to not let their children attend school anymore, even the fairly enlightened ones. For a country already having more than one third of its supposed future leaders out of school, Can Nigeria afford more drop outs? And this is just one amongst the many consequences of kidnapping we will have to deal with.
Millions of others are affected
Fatima’s parents are just a single representation of the average Nigerian family that feels helpless against this menace of heightened insecurity in the country. The country has the highest number of out of school children, more than 10.5 million according to UNICEF. This is due to factors such as poverty, illiteracy, cultural barriers, and now, the rise of insecurity in the country is crippling our already struggling education sector. With more people getting discouraged from sending their kids to school and some getting withdrawn as a means of protection, what hope remains for our already paralysed system?
About 13 schools have been closed in Kaduna state by the authorities following the attack on Bethel Baptist High School Kaduna State, where more than 140 students were kidnapped.
Kidnapping has become one of the biggest issues in Nigeria of recent and it all began in the year 2014 in the remote town of Chibok, Borno state, where 276 female students between the ages of 12 and 17 were kidnapped from their dorms in the dead of the night. This has led to the multiple mass kidnappings we are currently facing.
How’s the Government handling this?
The manner in which the Nigerian Government handled this dire situation has been disheartening, and the masses are not sure if they are really committed to quelling this ordeal. After the abduction of the Chibok girls in 2014, more measures should have been put in place to ensure that an incident that unfortunate, will never happen again. However, this has been a recurring issue over the years, with 2021 having the most cases of school kids abduction, which includes children younger than 10. In the town of Tegina not far from Kagara, Niger State, 27 students were kidnapped from an Islamic school with students between the ages of 6 to 18 in the month of February.
So far, over 600 schools in Nigeria have been closed due to the heightened problem of insecurity and approximately 1 million children are in need of assistance in order to resume their education in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. Not only does this have a negative impact on the education of the students in these schools, but also causes problems for those people in the towns who have to flee from their precious homes. It is truly heartbreaking how this is becoming the new normal, making the people care even less.
We must address this matter urgently or else…….
The issue of school children abduction needs to be addressed instantly with a sense of urgency, as it is spreading like a root festering until it destroys and devours everything in its sight growing into something bigger than we can all handle. Our children’s education and most importantly their lives are being threatened; therefore we need to continue to raise our voices and make sure we are heard, and urge the government to put this at the top of their priority list and provide a lasting solution to the problem.
About FlexiSAF Foundation
FlexiSAF Foundation is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to provide solutions to the scourge of illiteracy and the high numbers of out-of-school children in Nigeria. We have been able to make a positive impact through enrolling over 800 children in school and continued advocacy.