To say that the heightened spate of insecurity in Nigeria is worrisome is an understatement. The reality now is that a week hardly ever goes by without news of the abduction of unsuspecting Nigerians across the nation.
Over the weekend, Nigerians woke up to the sad news of the kidnap of about six hundred secondary school students by gunmen in Kankara, a town in Katsina.
The all-boys Government Science School was reportedly attacked by gunmen on motorcycles late Friday, who had engaged security operatives in a shootout that left the young boys scampering “for dear life” into nearby forests.
“So far we are yet to account for 333 pupils,” Katsina Governor Aminu Masari said on Sunday after a meeting with security officials, adding that the boarding school had a total of 839 students.
The governor noted that they were yet to ascertain how some of the students who were seen coming out of hiding from the forest had managed to escape from their attackers.
“Efforts are being made to ascertain the actual number of children that have been kidnapped,” he said.
Meanwhile, the horrified parents of the kidnapped students had gathered at the school premises, pleading with the authorities to help rescue their wards and reconcile them with their families.
Defence Minister, Major General Bashir Salihi-Magash, was said to have met with Governor Masari, assuring him that the armed forces will ensure they rescue the boys from their abductors within the shortest possible time.
“We will go the whole hog. We have the intelligence, the information where they are and their movement and their method of operation,” he said.
The sad development has caused uproar across the country with many concerned Nigerians calling on the authorities to do all in their power to rescue the abducted school boys – social media was abuzz with the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys on Sunday.
Six years down the line after experiencing #BringBackOurGirls – the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction, some of whom are yet to be rescued from their abductors; the nation now suffers a similar fate.
Katsina now remains one of the Northwestern states hardest hit by the activities of armed bandits in Nigeria.
In 2020 alone, the state has recorded an alarming number of abductions and the gruesome murder of residents by armed bandits.
And, relatively tired of the situation, Northern elders are in anguish over the kidnap of the Kankara schoolboys. They are also calling on the Buhari administration to sack the service chiefs for their incompetence.
Many people were further infuriated by the Government’s nonchalant attitude towards such a sensitive issue; especially when the Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in an interview with BBC, alleged that the number of missing schoolboys were ten as opposed to three hundred and thirty-three by the estimation of the Katsina government.
Nigerians can’t help but call out President Muhammadu Buhari, who was said to have been on a working visit to Katsina when the sad incident occurred.
Also worthy of note is his proximity to the site of the tragic incident, where the president is yet to visit, addressing the nation to assure Nigerians of his plans to bring back the boys and ultimately tackle insecurity in the country.
In reaction to the abduction of the boys, the United Nation’s Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres Monday, called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of the missing boys. He described the attacks on schools as a grave violation of human rights while urging security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime and bring them to book. Guterres also reaffirmed the UN’s support to the Federal Government and Nigerians in the fight against terrorism.
To state here that Nigerians are fed up with losing loved ones constantly to terrorists and bandits is an understatement. The situation has become too critical for the government to stay mute and watch as its citizens suffer ill fate almost daily.
More than ever, it is time for the Buhari administration to rise up to its responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.