President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR (centre) with the New Security Service Chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT

Sokoto, Yobe close boarding schools as Abuja, Katsina parents express concerns over abductions of children

*A number of state governments in Nigeria have shut boarding schools for fear of rising insecurity and attendant kidnappings, just as parents in Abuja and Katsina have expressed worries over what they described as ‘educational deterioration’ in many parts of the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the increasing security threats and attendant abductions, especially in schools, colleges, and other educational institutions in Nigeria in recent times, the Yobe State Government has shut down all boarding schools across the 17 Local Government Councils (LGCs) of the state.

Reports indicates the directive issued Sunday, February 28, 2021, was expected to take effect immediately.

Though there has been no official statement from the government or security agencies, one of the students told Channels Television that their teachers asked them to vacate the hostels and go home without giving them any reason.

Efforts to speak with the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education proved abortive as his phone was switched off, report stated.

However, a teacher said the decision was a result of the increasing security threats across boarding schools in the country.

Students of the Senior Secondary School (SS3) have, however, been asked to remain in school.

It is noted that the development was sequel to gunmen’s attacks on the Government Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State, whisking away 317 female students in the process.

A cross-section of kidnapped young school students armed bandits released in Zamfara State recently   Photo: HRW

Likewise, the Sokoto State Government has closed all boarding secondary schools outside the metropolis.

It was gathered Alhaji Sa’idu Umar, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), stated this shortly after the State Security Council meeting chaired by Governor Aminu Tambuwal in the Government House, Sokoto.

The schools exempted from the de-boarding exercise include Sani Dingyadi Secondary School, Sokoto Science College, Sultan Abubakar College, A.A. Raji, Sheikh Gummi Memorial College, Hafsat Ahmadu Bello Girls College, Government T.C. Farfaru, Nagarta College and GTC Farfaru, all of them in Sokoto metropolis.

The remaining are two Almajiri schools at Dange Shuni and Wamakko local government, report said.

The Sokoto SSG noted that the decision was taken after the Commissioners of Basic and Secondary Education, Muhammad Bello Abubakar, Science and Technology, Kulu Haruna and Religious Affairs, Abdullahi Maigwandu briefed the Council on the security situation of the schools.

Following the briefing on the security situation in the state, the council unanimously agreed that all the boarding schools outside the Sokoto metropolis would be shut in order to prevent any security breach that would embarrass the state, parents and the general public.

Umar further disclosed that the schools would be closed for a week in the first instance, during which proper review and security arrangement would be put in place.

During this period, students and teachers will be relocated to their locale to study and work as day outfits, said the Secretary to the State Government.

He stressed that the state government would supervise the exercise properly and ensure that there is quality assurance and security during the exercise.

According to him, if the security situation improves the students and the teachers will be relocated back to their schools.

Concerned parents cry out to the authorities to end terrorism and kidnapping of school children in Nigeria

Meanwhile, as regards the persistent kidnapping of students, particularly in some parts of the Northern Nigeria and worsening insecurity across the country, the developments are said to have heightened fears among parents with kids in public boarding schools in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.

Despite that no such kidnapping incident has been recorded in the Nigerian FCT, concerned parents have said that the poor infrastructure and porous security around some boarding schools in many of the schools located in Abuja satellite towns are alarming and need attention.

Parents of Government Secondary School (GSS) Karshi are particularly worried the boarding school built in an isolated location and surrounded by bushy mountain has no perimeter fence for maximum security, reports The Nation.

Investigation revealed the GSS Karshi has hundreds of boarders, but lacks complete perimeter fence.

It was learnt that the contract for the perimeter fence was awarded since 2010, but only the front part of the school is completed with a gate as a camouflage.

The vast part of the back side of the premise remains unprotected and susceptible to attack.

Mr. Johnson Ayim, one of the parents, stated that the worst aspect of the worrisome security situation is the alleged occupation of parts of the school land by herdsmen.

Ayim, who was furious herdsmen and farmers were allowed by the school authorities to use the school exit gate as a thoroughfare, warned the porosity of environment portends dangers, report noted.

The parent said: “No excuse was reasonable enough to leave a boarding school without a well secured and watched perimeter fence.

“The excuse that the school’s perimeter fence project was stalled because someone encroachment on the school’s land and is also claiming ownership was not tenable, as overriding public interest clause in Nigeria’s extant laws has taken care of that.”

He asked: “Why are herdsmen allowed to be occupying part of the school’s land? Is the management of the school and FCT administration not seeing the mountainous forest that surround the school? Are they waiting until an evil day comes before appropriate actions are taken?”

A top management staff of FCT Education Secretariat who pleaded anonymity was reported as saying that water tight arrangements have been worked out to enhance security around the boarding schools.

The source, who refused to disclose what the arrangements entail, claimed it was security issues that would be divulged.

He said: “As for GSS Karshi, we are making effort to complete the fence. The contractor had to stop work, when someone started claiming ownership of part of the school property.

“We have made our report but due to the bureaucracy in government, nothing has been done.”

On reasons for the increasing cases of out-of-school children in the country in recent years, parents in Katsina State have attributed the alarming rate of absenteeism to what they termed the deteriorating security challenges be devilling states in the North-West region and other parts of the country.

The parents, who spoke at a training programme organised by Save the Children International (SCI) in Kadandani community, Rimi Local Government Area of the state, expressed worries with “educational deterioration” in many parts of the country.

They explained that majority of the out-of-school children are in the Northern part of the country where insurgency and banditry orchestrated by terrorists and bandits are gradually enveloping the entire region.

Adamu Yusuf, a parent, said: “SCI is doing well by encouraging us to enrol our children, particularly girls in school but insecurity is hampering the NGO’s good intention.

“For instance, last year, armed Fulani herdsmen abducted our children at Government Science Secondary School, Kankara.

“So, this issue of kidnapping for ransom has badly affected the enrollment of children to schools and led to the increment in number of out-of-school children in Katsina State and many other states in North-West.”

Aishatu Mohammed, another parent, commented that the government is unmindful of the predicaments that the country is currently facing.

Mohammed noted that the North particularly faces pervading security challenges than other parts of the country, thereby affecting children’s education in the zone.

“Many parents have left their communities and villages in Faskari and Batsari Local Government Areas as a result of bandits’ attack.

“They don’t have any means of survival not to talk of returning their children to school. The number of out-of-school children is increasing everyday because of insecurity,” she noted.

The 54-year-old mother of 11 called on both the Federal and State governments to tackle security issues afflicting the country for peace and development to thrive.

Kindly Share This Story