Nigeria: Zamfara Parents’ Fears Not Allayed After Botched School Kidnapping

Schools are expected to be peaceful places where children are given protection even during conflicts, yet, a former Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, recently declared that inadequate security due to banditry and insurgency affects the delivery of basic education because there is an increasing trend of schools being attacked, with detrimental effects on children, educators and parents.

Secondary schools have long been the target for terrorist groups in the North East where a lot of girls abducted from boarding schools at different times have yet to be accounted for. Schools and children are somehow easy targets of violent actors who partly spread their message and indoctrinate children into violent extremism. And if the attacks persist, school attendance may decrease and the education system may be put on hold.

Lately, a general climate of insecurity in Zamfara State as a result of kidnappings and gun attacks almost impeded access to education because parents found it unsafe to send their wards to school.

Fear enveloped parents after suspected armed bandits attempted to abduct girls in a secondary school few weeks ago.

The armed men broke into Government Girls Secondary School, Moriki, and attempted to seize students from their dormitories. However, the attempt failed but they succeeded in kidnapping three children of one of the cooks in the school.

Shortly after the incident, parents trooped to the school to catch a glimpse of their daughters and to ensure their safety despite the fact that no student was abducted.

Despite this, some of the parents who spoke to Daily Trust said they were considering transferring their children to schools less vulnerable to bandits attack.

Most of the parents said the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction on April 14, 2014, in Borno State, was still fresh in their memories and that even though the motive behind the abduction attempt by the armed bandits could be different from that of Boko Haram, their fear on the matter was still not allayed.

Abdullahi Sani, parent from Zurmi Local Government Area, where the school is situated and whose daughter was in SS1 during the botched kidnap, told our reporter that measures were not taken by authorities to put his mind at rest after the incident, thus, he and many other parents had to go to the school to ascertain the safety of their children.

“When I heard about the attack, I couldn’t sleep at night. There were conflicting reports on what was actually happening then. Some people were saying that school girls were abducted while some reports were saying there was no abduction.

“The following morning, I went to the school and saw my daughter. When I arrived there I saw dozens of parents who went to see their children too,” he said.

In the same vein, another parent from Kaura Namoda, Kabir Aliyu, who had his two daughters in the school, said despite the fact that the attempt to abduct the girls failed, he was still nursing the fear that the gunmen could strike again.

“I have started considering withdrawing my daughters from the school. The matter is really terrible. Where can I get millions of naira to pay ransom to free my daughters if they are kidnapped,” he said.

Another parent, Yunusa Sulaiman, said parents had every reason to be worried considering the scale of security challenges in the state, especially in recent times, but that withdrawing the children from the school should not be an option.

“I don’t blame parents if they panic. What authorities should do is make sure security is beefed up around our schools. The students should not be allowed to leave the school premises without any concrete reason.

“The challenges are enormous, if the children are withdrawn where will they be taken too? Unless if we are taking them out of the state. The authorities must make sure that the schools tighten security. Broken fences in the schools should be quickly mended,” he advised.

A senior official in the state Ministry of Education said officials had not received any request indicating intention to transfer anyone from the school and that they had communicated to relevant authorities on the need to take adequate security measures around all schools in the state.


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Publish date : 2019-06-06 06:17:35

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