• Friday, April 12, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘Schools in 14 states face security threats, kidnappings’

Bandits

The Nigerian government has identified schools in 14 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as vulnerable to attacks by bandits and insurgents, following a renewed wave of mass abductions of students. abductions of students.

Hajia Halima Iliya, National Coordinator of Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria, confirmed the data collection of at-risk schools for intervention purposes.

While declining to initially name the affected states, Hammed Abodunrin, Commander of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre (Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps), later revealed them to include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Yobe, Katsina, FCT, Kebbi, Sokoto, Plateau, and Zamfara, alongside three others.

This disclosure comes amidst a surge in kidnappings. Over 465 pupils, teachers, and women remain captive as of today.

Fresh abductions and escapes

Just this past weekend, gunmen abducted 15 students from an Islamic school in Sokoto State. Sokoto State. This occurred less than three days after the kidnapping of 287 students and teachers from schools in Kaduna state’s Chikun Local Government Area. Thankfully, news emerged on Sunday of 28 students escaping, leaving 259 still missing.

The violence isn’t limited to schools. A few days before the Kaduna incident, terrorists abducted 200 women from an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Borno State. While nine have reportedly been freed, 191 remain in captivity.

History of violence and safe schools initiative

This recent spate of abductions evokes memories of the infamous 2014 Chibok schoolgirls’ kidnapping. In response, the Safe Schools Initiative was launched by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, alongside Nigerian business leaders, at the World Economic Forum Africa. The initiative aims to improve school security and prevent similar tragedies.

The government’s identification of vulnerable schools is a crucial step. However, much work remains to be done to safeguard educational institutions and ensure the safety of students and educators across Nigeria.