By Jonathan Nda – Isaiah |
Four days ago, 317 schoolgirls were abducted by bandits who came into the premises of the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State, riding on 20 motorcycles like bats let loose from hell, according to an eyewitness account.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, during the weekend, assured Nigerians that last Friday’s abduction of female students from the school would be the last.
If we recall clearly, the terrorist group Boko Haram had in 2014 abducted over 276 girls from a school in Chibok. Till date some of the girls are still in captivity. In 2018,110 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the same group from Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State. All the kidnapped girls (bar the five that had died) were later released, except Leah Sharibu, the only Christian among them. She is still in captivity.
In December last year, gunmen kidnapped 333 pupils of the all-boys Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, in President Buhari’s home state of Katsina. While the country had barely just recovered from that, students and teachers of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, were kidnapped by gunmen. Much to the country’s relief, they were also all released.
Perhaps this is happening because mass abductions not only receive the government’s full attention, but the world’s as a whole. The Pope has recently expressed his displeasure at this present case of mass abduction, describing it as vile.
In his statement, the president said that all schools should implement the Safe Schools Initiative (SSI) which was launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Nigeria, in 2014. But is this being adhered to?
A security expert lamented, on condition of anonymity, that “for now, I don’t think there is improved security around any of the boarding schools in remote places in the North.
“Come to think of it, how many security officials do we have that can effectively police all our boarding schools, especially in areas bedeviled by insurgency? The short-term solution will be to close all boarding schools in crisis-prone areas.”
Another eyewitness stated that there have been no extra security measures in some boarding schools in the North, especially in Niger State.
Those who spoke from the environs of the Zamfara school say there is palpable anxiety at Jangebe in anticipation of the release of the schoolgirls.
As of yesterday, one of the parents, Malam Sani Jangebe, told us that parents, guardians and other residents feel hopeless.
“We are still waiting for the girls to be released, as there was a strong indication that government had reached out to the bandits and is almost over with negotiations,” he said.