Insurgency and the state of our education

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RMTIMENG—The spate of insurgency bedeviling body polity of Nigeria has no doubt placed an embargo on education particularly in the Northwest and North central regions of the country.

The ‘Old-wine’ Boko Haram insurgents have been revamped in new bottles of banditry and kidnapping among other blood-sucking criminal cadres.

The Chibok and Dapchi girls’ story may have given rise to #BringBackOurGirls protests which opened our eyes to salients issues bedeviling our system but , the nightmare have become incessant, with series of abductions within short spans across states of the Federation.
From the abduction and subsequent release of the Kankara and Kagara school boys in Niger to the abduction of the Zamfara school girls and the recent invasion of the Kaduna state Federal College of Forestry.

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 Chiefs will 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.
These may not necessarily come as a surprise to many, as kidnapping has now become the order of the day, where government have been reduced to being negotiators with terrorists and a trending and lucrative means of getting the government as well as individuals to cough out millions in a bid to secure the release of abductees.

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 hunt us. This could be attributed to the role they have been forcefully reduced to in our society as the downtrodden who are incapacitated and therefore, form willing parties to crimes and criminalities in the country.

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 made by political aspirants, a clear evidence that they lack the political will to tackle the scourge, as 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 educational system.
Governments at all levels need to design a feasible approach to arrest these 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 feel safe while they strive to acquire a academic excellence in their field of studies.

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, students living off-campus have become prey for robbers who have raided lodges on different occasions without being traced.

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 went away their phones, laptops and money.

In the second and third instances, students’ residence ‘Green Lodge’ and ‘Spartacus Lodge’ were also attacked by the criminals barely a week following the first attack.

Who are those people perpetrating these evil deeds and causing havoc in the university community? This remains a worrisome question in minds of students as they await adequate intervention by the schools’ management.

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.
The 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, writes from lapai, Niger state

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