Armed ViolenceNews

#Afaka39: Group Pressures Authorities On Release Of Abducted Students, Safe School in Nigeria

An association of parents and teachers across Nigeria are demanding the release of the abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation and the safety of students across Nigeria.

The National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) has demanded the release of students abducted from the Federal College Of Forestry And Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria, more than a month after their abduction.

HumAngle reported the kidnapping of 39 students from the tertiary institution located in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State on March 12.

Haruna Danjuma, National President of NAPTAN made the demand in a statement on Thursday, April 22.

Danjuma, according to the statement, called on NAPTAN members and stakeholders such as traditional rulers, youths, and community leaders to assist security operatives in ensuring the safety of schools in anticipation of their resumption.

“Provide stand by well-equipped joint security forces to patrol and secure all schools to protect lives and prevent students, teachers, and staff from attacks by banditry, as schools resume across the country,” he said.

He also urged the management of private and government-owned schools to further ensure the safety of students by relocating all boarding schools in rural areas to urban areas.

The president of the association further advised stakeholders to provide schools in their vicinity with the necessary intel to prevent a future security breach, emphasising the importance of security to quality education.

He equally called on the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari and the newly appointed Service Chiefs to see to the end of insecurity in the country, particularly in schools where students are kidnapped, raped, and physically harmed.

Danjuma also pointed out the importance of employing both human and material resources in the fight against insecurity, while calling for an end to the strikes in tertiary institutions.

He noted that the strike actions further contribute to the already deteriorated educational system in Nigeria.

The country’s Northwest region has become a hotbed of kidnapping for ransom, where kidnappers demand ransom from the government or from the families of abducted persons.

Following the March 12 abduction, parents of the abducted students, on April 5, threatened to negotiate with the terrorists for their children’s release. They accused the Kaduna State Government of abandoning and neglecting them.

Days later, the Nigeria and Kaduna state governments announced that five of the abducted students were recovered by the troops.

But one of the released students contradicted the claim by the Nigerian Army, saying that the terrorists released them at will. Another batch of five students were later released, bringing the total to ten.

It remained unclear if the parents’ proposed negotiation deal with the abductors resulted in the release of the kidnap victims.

In the past, there were speculations of negotiations between kidnappers and the government.

But Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State is one governor who has continuously rejected the notion of paying ransoms to criminals, insisting that his government would not entertain a negotiation with abductors.

During a recent radio interview in Kaduna State, El-Rufai reiterated that he would not pay ransom to terrorists, even if his child were to be kidnapped.

“I mean it and I will say it again here. Even if my son is kidnapped, I will rather pray for him to make heaven instead because I won’t pay any ransom,” he said.

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Chigozie Victor

Chigozie Victor is a journalist and a creative writer. Her work focuses on SGBV, policy and security infrastructure. The graduate of English and Literature from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is passionate about helping audiences understand salient issues through clear reporting and multimedia journalism. She tweets at @nwaanyi_manaria

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