14 days after, FG, Kaduna State silent on students’ abduction

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Two weeks after armed men invaded a school, Prince Academy, located at Damba-Kasaya village in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State to kidnap seven students and a teacher, the government – federal, state and local government – is yet to give a situational report on the effort being made to release the students.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the incident happened around 8 a.m. while the students were preparing for their junior secondary school examination‎. The report also showed that the invaders killed a male teacher of the school known as Benjamin Auta.

According to the report, the abducted students were JSS3 students who were among the students in exit classes the government asked to resume for their Junior Secondary School examination.

When contacted to give an update on the government’s effort to rescue the student of Prince Academy, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ibraheem Musa, said he was indisposed and thus would be unable to respond to the question.

Ben Goong, the spokesperson for the federal ministry of education, told PREMIUM TIMES that the school where the abduction took place is not under the purview of his ministry.

“Kindly direct your questions to Kaduna State authorities,” he added.

The police spokesperson of Kaduna State, Muhammed Jalige, did not respond to the phone calls and messages sent across to him.

However, the state commissioner of police, Muri Musa, when contacted promised the spokesperson will reach out to our reporter.

Condemnation

A non-profit organisation, Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) has condemned the federal government and the Kaduna state government over their negligence and silence in handling the abduction of some students of Prince Academy in Kaduna State.

The organisation said, “it is shocked at the incompetent manner in which the reopening of schools amidst a COVID19 pandemic was handled; this in an environment beleaguered by some of the highest levels of insecurity around the world.”

The group described the silence of the government as “ repeating a pattern of cynical disregard for the lives of our citizens who show up in school in pursuit of knowledge. No one should ever have to choose between education and their lives.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the BBOG group said that the abduction of the school children is a reminder of “a similar tragedy that befell 219 Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.”

“It is now two weeks (14 days) since the news broke that gunmen attacked yet another school in the country – Prince Academy in Damba-Kasaya village in Chikun Local Government in Kaduna State. It was reported that the terrorists killed one-person and abducted Junior Secondary School students as well as a teacher who had been asked to resume school by both the Federal and State governments,” the statement reads in part.

Demands

The group requested President Muhammadu Buhari and the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, to intensify efforts to rescue the children abducted from Prince Academy.

“We also demand a public statement and transparency and accountability on this heart-breaking situation. Nigeria cannot afford to once again abandon her young children to terrorists. We demand immediate justice for and the rescue of the #KadunaStudents and their teacher.

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“We demand the fastest possible rescue of Favour Danjuma-9 years old, Happy Odoji-14, Ezra Bako-15, Miracle Danjuma 13 and their teacher- Christiana Madugu. This is a constitutional duty their government owes them and that duty must be performed now,” the statement read in part.

Repeated pattern

The children activist group also said the failure of the federal government to publicly acknowledge the ChibokGirls tragedy and “mount a swift rescue operation was what laid the foundation for the continuing captivity of the remaining 112 Schoolgirls and Leah Sharibu of Dapchi School six years and two years on, respectively.”

According to the children advocacy group, in what amounts to a case of egregious negligence of citizens by their government, neither the government of Kaduna State nor the relevant security establishments of the Federal Government has made any statement whatsoever on this repeat tragedy of schoolchildren being abducted from their schools.

“It was highly condemnable that under the leadership of President Buhari and El-Rufai respectively as Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces and Governor of Kaduna State, the country was experiencing a tragic reminder of the gross mishandling of a similar tragedy that befell 219 Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.”

“Worse still, many days after their abduction, parents, and citizens are yet to hear any word from the Government on the status of their children. What happened to the Safe School Initiative that prescribes a certain minimum standard of security measures for schools situated in highly insecure parts of the country like Prince Academy?”

In commemoration of the World International Day to Protect Education from Attack, which is celebrated on September 9, Premium Times reported how the United Nations advised the government to prioritise safety in schools for educators and students.



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