The Federal Government has emphasised the need for Nigerians to be vigilant to end attacks on schools and abduction of students.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who stated this in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, indicated that government could not secure every school in the country.
According to him, government has directed schools to report any security threat to the nearest security agency.
In the interview, the minister was asked what government was doing to protect schools from incessant attacks by bandits.
He responded, “Eternal vigilance is the price for security. Every nation is always concerned about the consciousness of its people. The Federal Government cannot secure every house. Everybody needs to be vigilant. We have passed this message to all our schools so that anywhere they are, if there is any threat, they know the nearest security agency to contact.”
Nwajiuba also claimed that almost all schools in the country were fenced. “Almost all the schools in Nigeria, whether private or owned by the Federal Government, are mostly all fenced, except may be some state schools.
“As you may also be aware, even if you put up a fence, these people (bandits) have been known to come through gates.
“So, perimeter fencing, by themselves, are not too effective. The security consciousness is the thing. If you hear where some of them are being held, you will know that it is a question of self-consciousness and communities informing officials on time.”
Kaduna confirms abduction of three primary school teachers
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government on Monday said only three teachers were kidnapped by bandits at the UBE Rema Primary School, Magajin Gari Ward 2 in the Brinin Gwari Local Government Area of the state.
The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, who confirmed this at press conference, said no single pupil of the school was kidnapped.
Aruwan said the bandits, who rode on motorcycles into the school at about 8:50am, also rustled cattle after invading the school.
The commissioner identified those teachers kidnapped by the bandits as Rabiu Salisu, Umar Hassan and Bala Adamu.
He explained that pupils, who just arrived the school when the incident happened, took to their heels, noting that two pupils were initially missing during the commotion but later found.
He gave the names of the pupils as Ahmad Halilu and Kabiru Yahaya.
Aruwan said, “The Kaduna State Government has called this briefing, following the attack by bandits at around 8:50am today Monday 15th March 2021 at Rema Primary School, Magajin Gari Ward 2, of Birnin Gwari Local Government Area, and the first update given by the Kaduna State Government which stated that reports were being received of a kidnapping at the said primary school.
“At this time, the state government has compiled and analysed all the security reports and can confirm that there was indeed an invasion of the said school. The government can confirm that three teachers, Rabiu Salisu, Umar Hassan, and Bala Adamu have been kidnapped.
“Pupils who had just arrived the school to begin the day’s activities, took to their heels in the course of the commotion, as the bandits invaded the premises on motorcycles. This led to two pupils, identified as going missing.
“However, we are happy to inform you that the two missing pupils have been found. We can also confirm that no single pupil was kidnapped from the school. Other than the three teachers previously mentioned, no worker or pupil of the school is missing following the attack.
“Security reports have also revealed that the bandits rustled several cattle and went away with five motorcycles and other valuables.
“In summary, as it stands, three teachers of the Rema Primary School, Birnin Gwari LGA have been kidnapped, and following thorough checks, we can verify that no pupil was kidnapped.”
According to him, the Military and other security agencies in the Birnin Gwari general area are in hot pursuit of the bandits to ensure that the three kidnapped persons are rescued safely.
Troops found two teenagers who escaped from bandits
Meanwhile, the commissioner disclosed that troops of the Nigerian Army on patrol in the Faka general area of Chikun Local Government Area, rescued a young boy wandering in the Faka Forest.
However, the boy, whom him simply identified as Adewale Rasaq escaped from his captors while his parents were negotiating the payment of N15m naira ransom
Aruwan also said that troops found another girl who escaped from bandits who abducted her three weeks ago at Randa village, in Kadage general area of the Kauru Local Government of the state.
He added that two persons would be handed over to their families through the chairmen of Chikun and Kauru LGs of the state.
He said, “The boy, identified as Adewale Rasaq, was kidnapped over a week ago in the Kudenden area of the Chikun Local Government Area, and escaped from his captors while his parents were negotiating the payment of a ransom of about N15m to the bandits.
“Furthermore, troops of the Nigerian Army while on aggressive fighting patrol in a forest around Kachia and Kauru Local government areas found a girl, Fatima Lawal, who also escaped from bandits.
“According to her statement, she was kidnapped about three weeks ago at Randa village, in Kadage general area of the Kauru Local Government.
“These two persons will be handed over to their families through the chairmen of Chikun and Kauru Local Government Areas respectively.”
Efforts for release of abducted students ongoing – Commissioner
Also, the commissioner said the state government was sustaining a collaborative efforts towards ensuring that the kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Mando were released from their captors.
According to Aruwan, the governor is actively engaging critical stakeholders towards the speedy achievement of this objective.
The commissioner said, “overall, the Kaduna State Government is sustaining collaborative efforts towards tracking down the criminals and retrieving their hostages.
“The governor is actively engaging critical stakeholders towards the speedy achievement of this objective.”
The police have attributed the ongoing mass abductions of students by bandits and other crimes to the proliferation and possession of firearms by criminal gangs.
The force also said the willingness of kidnap victims to pay ransoms as well as poverty was also fueling the abductions in the country.
The force spokesman, Frank Mba, said this on Monday, in response to inquiries by The PUNCH on what was being done to curb the rising criminality across the country.