The spate of insecurity in Nigeria has hit all-time high as it seems keeping safe has become something of an everyday challenge.
Nigeria is once again confronted with a problem that has become all too familiar: children in danger. Kidnappings attracted public attention for the first time in 2014. Then the jihadist group Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls from their boarding school in the north eastern town of Chibok. Despite a global media campaign to urge their safe return.
#BringBackOurGirls was championed by the public, celebrities, Heads of States and their spouses and a host of others. But the movement gathered momentum as soon as Michelle Obama made a post about it on her Instagram page. Unfortunately, more than 112 of them are still missing today and since then, several more children have been kidnapped, and the pattern continues.
Unrest in Nigeria has been attributed to a variety of causes. Some are of the opinion that the government is to blame, while some put the bulk on parents. Others point fingers at the youths or settle on a combination of these factors.
Below are a few possible factors that could be termed as contributors to the Nation’s current state:
- Bad governance.
- Lack of quality education or training.
- Inadequate basic infrastructures.
- Corruption and corrupt practices of government officials.
- Perceived victimization.
- Arrant poverty in the midst of affluence.
- Ethnic and religious superiority.
- Domination and exploitation.
- Materialism and the display of it with impunity etc.
Violent groups have raided boarding schools and abducted more than 650 students in the last four months. In perhaps the most daring of these incidents, was when more than 340 boys were abducted from a school in the President’s home state of Katsina, in December.
This happened while the President was on a visit with the whole peripheral of security forces at his disposal, yet nothing was done.
Furthermore, that was followed by the seizure of 42 students and staff in nearby Niger state in February. Unfortunately, one student was killed. Just a few days later, 279 girls were taken in Zamfara state.
Thankfully, all of those who were taken in these abductions have since been released. However, a fourth group 39 college students kidnapped from a forestry school in Kaduna state in mid-March are still in captivity.
My Two Cents.
There are several reasons why armed groups keep targeting schools. For starters, they are often under-protected, with little or no fencing and inexperienced security guards. These make them easy targets.
Furthermore, kidnappings of school children receive much more national and international media attention, as well as public uproar, than kidnappings of adult villagers or highway travelers.
The media spotlight and public protests pressure state governments into frantic negotiations with these armed groups and, in all likelihood, into making concessions to them. Government officials persistently deny paying the huge ransoms that the militants demand for releasing their captives, and such payments are hard to prove.
But it seems inconceivable that the kidnappings would recur so frequently while the perpetrators gain nothing in return. I am of the opinion that the federal and state governments work together to formulate a unified response to this crisis.
What are your thoughts?