Kangara abduction: should Nigerian students continue to live in fear and anxiety?

By Momoh, Emmanuel Omeiza
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To say that the challenge of insecurity in Nigeria isn't enough to melt the strongest of heart will be to make an assumption which the reality of things overtime will prove invalid.

From the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging the northeastern states to the Fulani herdsmen crisis which has been violent and permeating almost the entire country. Barely two years ago, another icing was added on the cake with the emergence of an armed group which was whimsically christened as bandits.

One cannot lay vivid claim to the the demands and requirements of this seems group. One certain things however is that this group engage in nefarious and despicable activities ranging from killings, maiming and abduction.

The last few days will not be forgotten no thanks to the activities of bandits who unleashed terror and mayhem in Kangara, Niger State by abducting tens of students and some staff members from a public secondary school. History wouldn't be complete without making reference to similar abductions in times past. This include the the abduction of over 600 male students of a public secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State in the just concluded year.

In addition, April 2014 was also chronicled as the year where the Boko Haram insurgents attacked a school in Chibok, Borno State and captured about 276 girls who were writing their final examinations.

What about the Dapchi abduction in 2018 where 113 children were captured in Yobe state in North-Eastern part of the country on February 19? Based on news reports, 107 of the abducted students regained their freedom, Five were said to have died while one till date still remains in captive for her refusal to renounce her religion.

It has always taken the combined efforts of security agencies both military and paramilitary for the few of the abducted students to regain their freedom and be reunited with their parents. This not minding the relentless negotiations, payments and the mental trauma these students are subjected to.

While reflecting on the recent abduction in Kangara, I could not but subject my minds to ponder on a plethora of questions which seemed to be unanswered.

In the first instance, why would the government of the day has utilise political propaganda in differentiating bandits from terrorists when in actual sense, they mean the same thing when their operations are placed side by side with each other? The refusal of the government to admit this ovetime has been the subject of heated heated arguments and controversies among Nigeria's diverse polity.

Another question which ran through my feeble mind was the essence of negotiation which the government has constantly used as the lender of last resort. Does it make any sense at all that a group of people who kill, maim and rape at will for no just cause are given the opportunity of being reintegrated into the society. This not minding the bogus payment they are given to start a new life?

Another observation was why the bandits uninhibitedly visit educational institutions as a means to drive home their demands. If educational institutions continue to be the center of attraction for the bandits, what then will be the fate of other Nigerian students who are enrolled in school to fulfill the mantra that education is an avenue to be liberated from ignorance?

According to the United States Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, thousands of students especially in the Northern part of the country, have resented in their educational pursuit. This is by dropping out and engaging in other menial activities. The organisation noted that reliable statistics revealed that their decision to resent was based on fear of being captured or abducted.

What then is the moral justification for the yearly budgetary allocation for the educational sector when the budget isn't serving it's purpose? How sad is the fact that it is the children of peasants who are mostly from the lower echelon of the society are being subjected to this mayhem?

The issue of education which is meant to be given maximal attention has been shifted backwards. This could be the reason for underdevelopment. The series of abduction experienced has established this fact that the government does not give education a top priority.

Do we blame them though? Not at all. After all, studying in Nigeria is only meant for children of the masses and not children of the elites. The dilapidated structures and incessant industrial actions are clear indications of this fact.

Well, as much as this piece isn't to trade the blame game, one thing to note is that we cannot continue to justify illegal actions and expect to experience development.

In 2014 it was Chibok. In 2018, it was Dapchi, Yobe State. In 2020 it was Kankara, Katsina State and in 2021, it is Kangara, Niger State. Who is the fortune-teller or astrologer that can tell the next educational institution that will be next point for attack?

Should Nigerian students continue to live in fear and anxiety?

If no, then it's high time the Nigerian government gives premium and maximal attention to securing our educational institutions at all levels. We cannot live in angst and mental apprehension.

I do wish our security agencies the best in their efforts to liberate the abducted students

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