Their juvenile faces radiate innocence as they strive to acquire knowledge and chase their dreams. In their inquisitive eyes lie questions and ideas yet unexplored. Yet, they play round the walls of the schools that harbour and prepare them for a blissful future.
But life is no longer what it used to be. Fears, uncertainties and doubts have begun to perch on their faces, as they no longer know when they would be snatched away from their sleep. Schools are no longer spared from the onslaught of men of the underworld.
- Niger rules out ransom for abductions at Kagara
- Students, Staff Abducted As Gunmen Break Into Niger School
In December, some gunmen invaded the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, abducted about 334 students. The Boko Haram insurgents later claimed responsibility for the attack on the school, but Governor Aminu Masari said the attack was carried out by bandits.
After a few days in captivity, they were released, but not without a slight drama. While the government claimed no ransom was paid for their release, the students said ransom was paid. Then the governor ordered that all boarding secondary schools in the state be shut down and some states in the Northern region like Sokoto and Zamfara also did same a few days after.
But just less than two months after that incident, the same fate has befallen students of Government Science College (GSC) Kagara, Niger state.
They were abducted the early hours of Wednesday. Governor Abubkar Bello of Niger put the number of abducted students at 46 and went ahead to shut down boarding schools in four Local Government Areas.
But the ugly development did not just begin recently. In 2014, about 276 girls were kidnapped from their school hostel in Chibok, Borno State. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the incident. The girls were kept in custody. Relief only came the way of most of them six years after. Yet, some couldn’t make it out.
In 2018, Boko Haram struck again. About 110 girls were kidnapped from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College. Dapchi, Yobe State.
As things stand, one can easily come to the conclusion that schools have not become easy targets for assailants as the country passes through a myriad of security lapses. But one may be forced to ask, is education under threat in Nigeria?