Tears for 339 Students with Captors
39. As at press time, that’s the number of students from three schools languishing in the dungeons of bandits in Niger, Kebbi and Kaduna states. There are hundreds of others from unrecorded abductions, still with kidnappers. Hundreds of children are being abused in forests and all we get are rhetoric from a lame federal government that controls all the security agencies in the country. While we sleep in the comfort of our rooms, hundreds of our children are with beasts in the forests. The latest addition to the number of our children in the forest is the 121 taken from Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State. The bandits strolled into the school, operated for over an hour unchallenged, and walked out with 121 children. It can only happen in Nigeria.
Then, it is followed with lies, damn lies by the Kaduna State Government and security agencies. Our well-trained soldiers claimed they exchanged fire with the bandits, but they still escaped with the Bethel students. Two security agents were killed by the bandits but our soldiers did not kill a single bandit in the firefight. This is absurd. It was later claimed that security agents rescued 26 of Bethel students. It turned out not to be true. The Proprietor of the Bethel School, Ishaya Jangado, sheds light on this: “After the exchange of fire between the bandits and the security personnel, we came to the school and we recovered 28 students. Some hide in different places. Some of them, in the course of taking them, escaped from the bandits and came back to the school.”
Also, midway into the case of the abducted 39 students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna State, the Army reported that five of the abducted students had been rescued by the military. That was not the true story. The military was merely trying to take credit for a job not done. One of the five freed students blew the whistle on the Army and the Kaduna State Government by revealing that the bandits released them voluntarily.
The managers of Bethel Baptist High School have been told by the bandits to send food to the 121 students through them, so as to prevent the children from starving. The outlaws have started coming out to pick the food at an agreed location, yet, security agents are unable to track down these bastards. The gangsters communicate daily with the school and parents using GSM phones, yet, tracking them down is a problem for our security agents. What a country!
Another shocking thing about unending abductions and killings in Kaduna State is that this state is home to a large number of military formations, including the headquarters of 1 Division of the Nigerian Army. The Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) and the Nigerian Army school of Artillery, Kachia, are some of the elite military institutions here. Garrisons and military training schools abound in Kaduna, nevertheless, outlaws control this state. How can one explain the abductions at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, located near the NDA along the Kaduna International Airport road? It’s a big disgrace.
It will be a waste of time for the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School to look towards Governor Nasir El-rufai for salvation. This man called El-rufai has never been there for anybody in this state. He enjoys showboating and persistently spins rubbish, without offering relief to victims of unending killings and kidnappings in Kaduna State. The other day, El-rufai openly rejected ransom to kidnappers. But he never followed up with anything positive to free victims. That was why five abducted students of Greenfield University were killed.
In Niger State, 135 pupils of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya School, Tegina, have spent 40 days in the forest without any serious effort to rescue them. I’m talking about kids as young as eight years. The kidnappers want N100 million and sympathizers of the abducted pupils have so far paid almost N20 million. Earlier, one pupil died in the prison of the kidnappers.
In Kebbi State, 83 students and seven staff of the Federal Government College, Yauri, have spent 24 days in the forest with bandits. Three of the students died during separate weird rescue operations. In one of the operations, the Army reported that the fleeing kidnappers ran into men of the Joint Taskforce of Operation Hadarin Daji in the North-West Zone, at a roadblock, and a firefight occurred. According to the Deputy Force Commander, Operation Hadarin Daji, Air Commodore Abubakar Abdulkadir, as a result of the duel, the bandits were forced to abandon five students and a teacher; “but sadly, one of the students died in the crossfire.”
So, there was a firefight and not a single bandit was killed or captured? The bandits abandoned only five of the students and crossed the road block with the others unhindered? How did they escape through the fortified road block, if indeed, there was a firefight? This story is outrageous. The army reported further that the land troops tackled the bandits in conjunction with elements of the Nigerian Air Force, who provided close air support, nonetheless, they could not gun down a single bandit during the rescue mission. With the aircraft, the Air Force could not track the location of the bandits. Commodore Abdulkadir’s men, who could not rescue the traumatised students, reported that they were able to recover 800 cattle from the bandits. What a country!
Last Thursday, bandits released the six students and two staff of the Kaduna Stateowned Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, who spent 29 days in captivity. The abductees were freed after affected families paid about N5 million. This is Nigeria for you under Buhari.
Security glitches under this federal government are ceaseless and consuming too many innocent lives. The killings, kidnappings and destruction across the country in the last six years of the Buhari government have become a big embarrassment to this country. The Nigerian state has never been this weak. The need to bring committers of these grave human rights violations to account is pertinent. Nigerians desire improved security. I’m convinced that Buhari knows what to do to end this madness, but has refused to do the needful. Nigeria is in a big mess. Who will save this country? This is one big question begging for answer.
Security glitches under this federal government are ceaseless and consuming too many innocent lives. The killings, kidnappings and destruction across the country in the last six years of the Buhari government have become a big embarrassment to this country. The Nigerian state has never been this weak. I’m convinced that Buhari knows what to do to end this madness, but has refused to do the needful