Attacks on schools: Developing system of dragnets to ground bandits’ network

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The worsening of insecurity in Nigeria has continued to bear its strings of turbulence across sectors in the Country. The challenge has grown to become so turbulent with ravaging effects on the entire fabric of the Country, as the vitiating tentacles are wide spreading to break down working patterns of cohabitation. Analytical perusal of the sectoral impacts of the threats of insecurity in the Country would only reveal the unsavoury impacts which have compounded on broad note to impair growth and development. The compounding impacts are grounds of concern which without controversy have created circumstances that indisputably would bear far reaching drawbacks to further frustrate the pace of development courses in the Country.

While no sector can be said not to have suffered identifiable degrees of negative impacts, it is more recognisable that the blow of the heightening of insecurity storms are now hitting so hard on the education sector at disturbing height of discordance. As banditry continue to expand the wings of its tentacles in the Country, schools in recent times have become the soft target for their escapades. The rate of overrunning schools to kidnap students for ransom has become much troubling. The fact that such phenomenon is taking toll in the northern part of Nigeria which ordinarily is at huge deficit in education, speaks loud of grave threats with looming dangers. The reminder of the fact that northern Nigeria which has been the home of deep seated human capital deficits owing to endemic profile of poor education is suffering the il l-fated phenomenon, brings to bear the threats that pose before the region directly, and indirectly on the entire Country as the profile of bandits’ attacks on schools continue to take deeper roots.

Beginning from the Chibok abduction in 2014, to that of Dapchi and Kankara kidnaps, the phenomenon had become so troubling with troubling spate of attacks as those of Rema near Birnin Gwari in Kaduna; College of Forestry in Afaka on the outskirts of Kaduna; the Kaduna State Science Secondary School Ikara; pupils of Tegina Islamic School, Niger State, among several others. The North-West has evidently become a troubled zone where threats of banditry have been brewing storms to further crumble the already disadvantaged education system. Kaduna State has recently been caught in the heat of the ravaging phenomenon. No fewer than seven schools in Kebbi State had been shutdown indefinitely in the aftermath of the attack on Federal Government College (FGC), Birnin Yauri, by suspected bandits.

Last Thursday, bandits had kidnapped scores of students and four teachers after overpowering 22 policemen deployed to the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State. It has been reported that 130 junior secondary schools had been closed down in Zamfara in communities, which had been deserted due to bandits’ attacks. It would be recalled that recently, no less than 136 pupils were abducted in an Islamic school in Tegina, a densely populated town in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

Such States as Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna and Katsina have been on the lists of State-victims where incessant bandits’ attacks on schools have been taking toll. The turbulence have led to closure of schools in Zamfara, Kebbi,  Katsina and Sokoto. In Kebbi, seven schools have been under lock and key with increasing attacks of bandits on schools, as several others around threat zones are bound to suffer similar fate.

Remarking on the ravaging impacts,  Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had last weekend raised alarming notes of concern on the threats that insurgency, banditry and kidnapping were posing to further dampen the profile of education in the north in the face of its deficits in education. He had mentioned that the reoccurring attacks on schools with kidnapping of students and teachers have combined to further worsen the poor profile of education in the region. Lawan who spoke at the First Solo Exhibition of Paintings and Photographs by Stephen Binos, noted that owing to persistent abductions and kidnappings by armed bandit, school children in the North were deprived of education, particularly the girl-child.

“It is a very sad development that our education is suffering, especially with so much kidnapping of school children, particularly the girl child. In northern Nigeria, education has always been a problem and it is making it worse with the abduction of students, either in Islamiya school or normal secondary school or even in tertiary institutions like it happened in Afaka in Kaduna State. I believe we should continue to fight this kind of insurgency, banditry for us to restore normalcy in our country for our country to make progress,”  he was quoted.

It is no gainsaying that heightening threats of banditry and kidnapping are portending ravaging impacts on education in the Country. It is inconceivably saddening for the profile of education in the Country which is too far from global best standards to be experiencing the rising phenomenon of terror attacks on schools. The situation becomes too difficult to conceive when consideration is given to the North which is at a huge deficit in education. The pervasiveness and persistence of such attacks have only begun to create fear of insecurity among students and their parents/guardians. Such phenomenon taking toll in the North where the perceptional drive for education is relatively very low, will only graduate to further exacerbate deficits in education by spurring loss of interest and deepening apathy. Such negative sensation portend grave threats which would further compound with existing forces to uncontrollably generate circumstances of disorder worse than the prevailing situations.

The prevailing formations of terror and insecurity in Northern Nigeria have strongly been linked to the depth of illiteracy, poverty and poor human capacity development of the region. It is therefore mind boggling, what ravaging effects that circumstances would pose before the region and the entire Country, should situations be allowed to degenerate in crumbling the education system in the region.

Hence, the necessity for the Government to take stronger measures towards averting a looming crisis in the education system in the Country is paramount. It has become apparent that the need to deploy formidable security architecture that cannot be easily overran to secure schools in troubled zones is paramount. The poor security provision at schools in threat zones has only left pupils, their teachers, and indirectly their parents/guardians as preys of bandits. It is hence sacrosanct for the Federal Government primarily responsible for security in the Federation as a statutory preserve, to device responsive security system to address emerging threats against schools, particularly within zones presently suffering the brunt of bandit attacks in the Country.

However, while such provision is pertinent, the need for an overarching system of dragnets to clampdown the formations of bandits across the Country is paramount. The impacts of bandits’ operations in the Country have inconstestably posed wild troubles than could be summarily guaged. It is therefore, important for the Government to develop coordinating frameworks of security responses with blended complementarity to address both emergency situations as well as provide dragnet parameters to ground the  networks of banditry in the Country.