Insurgency and the state of our education
By Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
The spate of insurgency bedeviling body polity of Nigeria has no doubt placed an embargo on education particularly in northwest and north central regions of the country.
Old-wine Boko Haram insurgents have been repackaged in new bottles of banditry and kidnapping among other blood-sucking criminal cadres.
Reason why school children have been falling victims of unending abductions. Chibok and Dapchi girls’ story that gave rise to #BringBackOurGirls protests didn’t just stop there, the nightmare continues with a series of school abductions in Kaduna and Niger.
Kankara and Kagara boys, Zamfara school girls to the hopefully last one that took place at Kaduna College.
As I chronicle the below events with teary eyes, read along with humanity lens.
BBC reports reported that from December 2020 till date, more than 600 students from various institutions across the north-east Nigeria have been abducted. Just 3 months into the new year? I hope the new service chief could act beyond expectations.
About 279 students were abducted from Jangebe in Zamfara state, an estimated number of 27 students including staff from Government Science College, Kagara. Also, 9 students from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and another 30 students of Federal College of Forestry, Kaduna State.
Is this not surprising to you, kidnaping for fun and earning lucratively?
Another report culled from Vanguard newspaper chronicles banditry in Niger State to date back to seven years.
Over 380 have been killed, more than 70 persons abducted and roughly 80 million naira paid as ransom.
These coupled with the shocking statistics for out-of-school children Is rendering our state of education a desolate ground, an instance where students forfeit their studentship and retire to the community with little or no education to sauce their rationalism.
Doubt it not that those neglected Almajiri children are the ones coming to kill us and abduct our children. Had they been privileged to be in school, chances are that they won’t be recruited for the suicidal missions. Though chief reason could be blamed on parochial adaptation of family planning, where childbirth will be by control.
This takes us to what a journalism guru, Ternenge Ende, said about growing issues of banditry and the way forward.
Ternenge in his submission lashed the authority, saying they know the chief reasons of banditry to revolve around education, unemployment and absence of governance. These, according to him, are the constant campaign promises by political aspirants, a clear evidence that they lack the political will to tackle the scourge.
The ransom approach won’t solve the problem. Combatant personnel need heavy weapons like the bandits.
It’s high time a state of emergency is declared on our education system. Governments at all levels need to design a feasible approach to arrest the situation.
We need to know what government of the day is putting in place to safeguard the lives and property in our already decayed Institutions, so that the students can be safe in their place of study.
The capture of students further makes people believe they are no longer safe in their place of study.
However, Niger State has a fair share of school attacks/abductions. Though it’s yet to witness any attack on its higher institutions, this should not be the yardstick which the state government will relax on without putting necessary modalities in place in preparation of its possible occurrence.
Also we must not underestimate the little criminalities happening within our campuses where students are being robbed of their valuable items in their dormitories.
In Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, criminals have invaded off campus hostels on different occasions.
One of these hostels, ‘C.B.N’ located along Lapai-Paiko-Minna road, was invaded a few weeks ago and students were injured. They also carter away their phones, laptops and money.
In the second and third instances, students’ residence ‘Green Lodge’ and ‘Spartacus Lodge’ were also pillaged by the criminals after a week of the first attack.
The school management has refused to make any comment or announce modalities in bringing the criminals to book. Maybe they are afraid of creating a bad name for the institution but that is not enough in terms of saving the lives of the students and members of its host communities.
Who are the people perpetrating these evil deeds and causing havoc in the university community? A question beseeching an answer.
The school management, local government council and the state government are urged to provide a way of protecting students in their places of study in order not to disrupt the process of learning.
Police, civil defense and the army need to be deployed to our institutions of learning as it will likely help in scaring away bandits and other criminal elements.
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga is a 400L student of department of mass communications, IBB University, lapai, Niger state.