Gang vi­o­lence rises in Katsina schools

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - From Habibu Umar Aminu, Katsina

Delin­quent gang ac­tiv­i­ties have in­creased re­cently in few pri­mary and sec­ondary schools in Katsina State. This has led to ram­pant cases of vi­o­lent clashes be­tween ri­val groups, of­ten lead­ing to life threat­en­ing in­juries, phys­i­cal de­for­mi­ties and deaths.

The tell-tale signs of stu­dents who have joined such vi­o­lent gangs in­clude adopt­ing a nick­name, change in style of dress­ing, car­ry­ing weapons and in most cases abuse drugs. These gang­sters are called Kau­raye in Hausa lan­guage.

One re­tired teacher said stu­dents who feel iso­lated and un­safe in school mostly join the gangs or be­friend their mem­bers to feel se­cured, adding that such gangs were com­mon in public than pri­vate schools.

Un­sus­pect­ing teach­ers and stu­dents have re­port­edly be­come vic­tims of gang clashes which have marred teach­ing and learn­ing in some schools. Mem­bers of the gangs also ex­tort monies from other stu­dents and even teach­ers, ac­cord­ing to a source.

A brawl be­tween two ri­val groups in Kam­barawa Model Science Pri­mary School along Daura Road, Katsina, left many peo­ple in­jured re­cently. A teacher, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said some of the gang mem­bers from other schools usu­ally join their col­leagues in his school dur­ing clos­ing hours so they’d all go home to­gether. He said clashes mostly oc­cur on Fri­days af­ter teach­ing hours, adding that the school man­age­ment had to shorten clos­ing hours on Fri­days and dis­miss stu­dents early enough to avoid vi­o­lence.

Ac­cord­ing to him, ri­val stu­dents from the sec­ondary sec­tion also cross over to the pri­mary sec­tion to mo­lest ju­nior stu­dents in a “show of supremacy.”

Another teacher at the sec­ondary school sec­tion said vi­o­lent stu­dent gangs have made a habit of at­tack­ing stu­dents at any time of the day. He said the gangs meet at a pop­u­lar place called Gi­dan Waina “where we nor­mally trace our stu­dents and send them back to class­rooms.”

“We also had to join forces with the Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion to help out in our ef­forts to cur­tail armed at­tacks within and af­ter school hours.”

The chair­man of Kam­barawa School Based Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee, Malam Sani, said even though for­mal com­plaints have not been made, it will be hard to fore­close the oc­cur­rence of gang vi­o­lence in the school, adding that the cases may not nec­es­sar­ily be fre­quent. He called on teach­ers and par­ents to “al­ways re­port such acts to author­i­ties” so that puni­tive mea­sures will be taken against the per­pe­tra­tors.

A res­i­dent of Sabuwar Un­guwa quar­ters in Katsina city, Has­san Lawal, said late last year, thugs in­vaded the Tudun Matawalle School dur­ing lessons and in­jured sev­eral stu­dents and teach­ers. He said the iden­ti­ties of the at­tack­ers were not es­tab­lished but they were sus­pected of hav­ing ei­ther ri­vals or col­leagues among stu­dents. The at­tack, he said was con­demned in its en­tirety by the com­mu­nity.

For Ab­dul­lahi Tanko, gang vi­o­lence was an emerg­ing and alarm­ing trend that calls for con­certed ef­fort to ad­dress. “I stay at Nwala near the Ara­bic Teach­ers Col­lege and that area is a den for ri­val stu­dent gangs.

“These stu­dents turn up late in school. They come in with dan­ger­ous weapons on them, they at­tack teach­ers who try to ques­tion or pun­ish them for late­ness and they con­tinue to hang around till clos­ing hours in­tim­i­dat­ing peo­ple.

“We want the gov­ern­ment and se­cu­rity agen­cies to bring back the po­lice pa­trol van sta­tioned near the school be­fore and sup­port our com­mu­nity ef­forts to­wards fish­ing them out. We all know them and their par­ents; they live around us,” he added.

When con­tacted over re­ported vi­o­lence in schools, the Po­lice Public Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Aminu Sadiq said sev­eral ar­rests have been made and many sus­pects were charged with a num­ber of of­fences.

“In the last few months, about 280 Kau­raye sus­pects were ar­rested, 182 were pros­e­cuted, 50 await­ing tri­als, just as 38 were screened out.”

In­formed by the dis­turb­ing trend, the po­lice com­mand em­barked on ad­vo­cacy cam­paigns against Kau­raye in schools and over 400 stu­dents have taken part so far,” he said.

He called on par­ents to al­ways mon­i­tor the com­pany their chil­dren keep so as to avoid be­ing ini­ti­ated into the gangs and to re­port sus­pected per­sons to po­lice.

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