Shortly after the release of hundreds of schoolgirls abducted last Friday by terrorists in Zamfara, Northwest Nigeria, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called on the country’s government to prevent repeated incidents.
Bello Matawalle, Governor of Zamfara, announced Tuesday morning that the girls had been released and were safe.
Two hundred and seventy-nine (279) girls were kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe after invading terrorists overpowered a local group of vigilantes.
In a statement shared with HumAngle on Tuesday, CDD expressed relief about the girl’s safety and urged that there was still work to be done.
“While we rejoice with Nigeria and the families of the students on their release, we cannot but emphasise the need for a plan to ensure that this kind of child right violation does not repeat itself,” the non-profit’s director Idayat Hassan said.
“The CDD calls on government and relevant authorities including the Ministry of Education to come together and map out workable strategies that would ensure that every child is protected in his or her quest to seek development and learning.”
The group asked the government to make sure kidnapping victims who are still in captivity are released without payment of ransom or an offer of amnesty.
“The trauma of families with children in the hands of such deadly criminals can be better imagined. CDD finds it unacceptable that Nigerian children are being subjected to dehumanising and traumatic experiences, which the bandits have continued to subject them,” the statement said.
“It is a slap on the face of the entire country that common criminals have turned the national space into a lawless, chaotic, and non-habitable place. It is most unfair to the long-suffering citizens of Nigeria that the Buhari government has woefully failed to stem the tide of insecurity.”
“It is not tenable that Nigerians, especially young people seeking an education, can no longer do so in a secure, peaceful, and conducive atmosphere.”
In deterring further attacks, CDD advised that the government should be proactive and adopt a holistic approach.
“In fact, from the evidence on the ground, the bandits will become even more daring, especially as they have been getting generous financial returns from hefty sums paid to them as ransom,” it said.
“The government, therefore, needs to effectively perform its primary function of ensuring the security of lives and property of all Nigerians. In this regard, CDD warns that the resort to measures meant to placate and pamper the criminals responsible for these abductions will lead to further heinous crimes.”
The research and advocacy group further implored the Nigerian government to revisit existing school security policies, including the Safe School Initiative, and provide psycho-social support for former abductees.
“Given the trauma, many of these students have passed through, their lives are not likely to be the same again,” it noted.
“Part of the role of the government is to find ways to soothe the trauma of all released abductees, while the families of those killed have to be properly cared for. These steps are important because the country cannot afford to breed a set of traumatised, angry and frustrated citizens who feel let down by the country.”
“Such feelings of resent and hopelessness may alienate the victims, and transform them into threats against society, if not properly managed.”
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