Young Barnabas Ishaya is yet to come to terms with the sudden loss of one of his hands. Armed robbers, numbering about five, broke into his off campus room at Tayi Area of Minna, the Niger State capital, in the early hours of Monday, October 2, 2023 and cut off his left hand in the cause of robbing him.
The robbers also inflicted cutlass injuries on his right hand and head, and made away with his mobile phone and torchlight.
The 17-year-old is a SS2 student of the Niger State Teachers Professional Development Institute, Minna – a boarding school relocated from Mararaban-Dandaudu in Munya Local Government Area, due to incessant banditry attacks on communities in Munya LGA and neighbouring Shiroro LGA.
The relocation forced many parents, who had no relatives in Minna, to rent houses for their children to continue with their studies.
Barbanas told Daily Trust Saturday on his hospital bed at the IBB Specialist Hospital Minna that the robbers had invaded their compound around 2am on Monday.
“I did not drag with them. When they forced the door opened, I tried to pick up my torchlight to know who they were. Immediately, one of them cut off my hand. They also inflicted injuries on my head and right hand. It was like a dream to me. They went away with my mobile phone and my torchlight.
“I don’t want to drop out of school. I am not happy with what has happened to me. But if I can get support, I will continue with my studies after I recover I plead with the government to help me.”
His father, Ishaya Maigida – an internally displaced person from Munya LGA, was in tears when our correspondent visited the hospital.
He said “I am very disturbed and traumatized with what happened to my son. I can’t explain how I feel. I never thought he will end up like this. He’s now a disabled person. How will he even enjoy his stay in school with one hand?”
He added that “We have no access to our farms; We are not in our homes because of insecurity. We have abandoned our homes and I am doing everything possible to see that he completes his education against all odds because of his dedication to his studies. Some times, we sleep in the bush. We cannot fully engage in farming because of bandits. Now, this has happened to my son. I don’t know what to do.”
Residents said robbery activities have become a daily occurrence in Minna, despite efforts by security operatives and the state government to curtail the menace.
Another victim, Shuaibu Abdullahi, a final year student of the Niger State School of Health Technology, Minna, who also sustained head injuries from the attack said “The robbers broke into my room and attacked me with machetes and inflicted injuries on my head and leg. They dressed like vigilantes. Two of them were holding locally made guns while the rest were with cutlasses and knives.
“They took my phone and other valuables, and also collected N5, 150 cash. While they were operating in my room, they locked my fellow tenants in their rooms with padlock so that they wouldn’t escape.”
Also at the emergency unit of the IBB Specialist Hospital was Aliyu Tajo, a victim of another robbery attack at Barikin-Sale Area of Minna.
Tajo, an Islamic School Teacher said the incident that left him with severe injuries on his both hands happened around 5pm on Saturday after he had returned from Maulud procession, saying that he was attacked while resting in the mosque.
Spokesperson of the Niger Police Command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said since the donation of operational vehicles by the Niger State Government, police and other security operatives have been visible everywhere, especially in Minna, adding that the incidences of robbery had reduced.
He, however, confirmed the incident that left Barnabas Ishaya without one hand.
The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Hadiza Asabe Mohammed, described Barnabas’ incident as heartbreaking, saying that the ministry would do everything possible to ensure that the boy doesn’t drop out of the school.
“We will do everything humanly possible to sustain this child to any level of education because it is really heartbreaking for a child that has come this far to eventually find himself in this unfortunate situation.”
Dr Mohammed said the government was already building new structures at the premises of the former Women Teachers’ College with full hostel accommodation to avoid students staying off campus.
Daily Trust Saturday recalls that in February this year, Niger State Government announced the relocation of the State Teachers Professional Development Institute, Dan-Daudu, Munya Local Government Area and its study centres in Kuta, Shiroro Local Government Area to the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Minna.
The former Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, at the combined graduation ceremony of 513 students of 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022, held at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, said banditry attacks in the area had disrupted education in the school.
Bello said the sum of N1bn had been approved for the construction of Teacher Professional Development Centre known as Legacy Centre at the premises of Government Girls Secondary School.