from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – A STRING of abductions of school children has rendered Nigeria one of the most dangerous places for youngsters pursuing their right to education.
It has also brought to question the capacity of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in dealing with the rising tide of militancy in the West African country.
Last Friday, armed bandits kidnapped 317 girls from a government girls science secondary school in Jangebe in the northwestern Zamfara State.
The morning raid came over a week after gunmen kidnapped 42 people at a boarding school in the north-central state of Niger.
That attack left one student dead.
The victims were however released this past weekend.
In December, at least 300 schoolboys were kidnapped by bandits in Katsina, the home state of President Buhari.
Those students have since been released.
The latest abduction of has raised global outrage, coming almost seven years after the Boko Haram kidnapped 276 female students in Chibok in the northeastern state of Borno.
A majority are still unaccounted for.
“The situation has never been this parlous, sickening, helpless and hopeless,” lamented Fredrick Nwabufo, the social commentator.
He said the government seemed not to have learnt from the previous mass abductions of pupils.
“This sanguinary wheel keeps spinning, plucking schoolchildren, but the government seems to have lost the spanner to stop it,” Nwabufo said.
Responding to the recent kidnapping, Buhari said his government had the capacity to deploy “massive force” against the bandits the response was limited by fear that the militants could use victims as human shields.
“A hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors,” Buhari said.
United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for the immediate and unconditional release of the abducted children.
“The Secretary-General urges the Nigerian authorities to spare no efforts in bringing those responsible for this crime to justice,” Guterres’ spokesperson said.
– CAJ News