It was with great shock that we need received the news that nine Kano children had been abducted and sold to strangers in faraway Anambra state, in October last year. We also learnt that they were converted to Christianity, given Christian names and enrolled in schools there.
But more shocking than this was the discovery that many more of such kids were still in captivity in the South East.
Unlike the much villified almajiri whose abandonment by parents renders him fair game to ritualists and human trafickers, these children were in the care of the parents when their abduction was planned and executed. This is why almost all of them have missing persons report filed for them at various police stations in Kano.
The discovery of Kano 9, who had been abducted for years ranging from two to five, gave the parents of other missing children hope that their own kids will be found.
Indeed, according to some of the mothers who demonstrated in Kano last Thursday, the recovered kids had told them that their own children were alive and well but remained captives to the strangers who had bought them.
The response to this abduction of innocent young children and selling them into virtual slavery, left a lot to be desired. Enough hell wasn’t raised even by Northern notables to warrant serious and immediate action against the human trafficking ring that orchestrated the abductions.
Yes, a husband and wife and a few others were said to be arrested and prosecuted for it but clearly not enough was done to ensure that all the others, still in Eastern Nigeria had been returned home.
It is against this backdrop that the grieving mothers of these missing kids came out to protest the lukewarm attitude of Kano state government, to the issue of recovering their children. While carrying various placards, they went to the public complaints commission and to the ministry of women affairs, to register their grievance at the way the government was handling their children’s plight.
Their spokesperson Malama Zainab Abdullahi Giginyu told Daily Trust that the total number of missing kids from 2016 to date are 118. She also revealed that they were mostly taken from Hotoro, Kawo, Yankaba and Gama wards of Kano metropolis.
Though they are aware of the committee set up by government to look into the issue last year, according to Zainab, they have not seen the impact of the committee in any way.
And this is truly unfair. These parents are not in a position to do anything towards recovering their children. It is only with the aid of the government that they can succeed in what they wish to do. I am aware that some federal lawmakers are making an effort to secure the release of about twenty such kids, but they haven’t yet succeeded in doing so.
While commending their efforts, we should continue to exert pressure on the state government to be in the forefront of getting these children back to their parents. There is no justification for the nonchalant attitude of Kano state officials towards the plight of these families.
A mother with a missing child is under worse trauma than the one who lost one. With a missing child you have no idea where he is or what he is going through in life. Your imagination runs wild trying to figure out what his fate is in life. But the one whose child is dead is at least assured that she knows where he is and can resign her fate to The Almighty.
This is why I’m sending a special appeal to Kano state government to please attend to the heartfelt wishes of these parents by making concerted efforts to recover these children. Posterity will judge this government harshly, if they allow these abducted kids to remain with strange parents; having lost their religion and culture and possibly any right to an easy life.