Rising Insecurity: Kidnapping of 287 Students In Kaduna Sparks National Concern

The kidnap, on Thursday, of 287 students and pupils of the LEA Primary and Secondary Schools, Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, as well as some of their teachers and staff, has confirmed fears that the rise in criminal activities was largely stoked by the collapse of local government administration in the country.

The bandits, who invaded the school at about 8:30am after their assembly, reportedly killed a member of the Kaduna State Vigilante Service (KADVS), while making away with the students and pupils through the bushes, and shooting indiscriminately.

Many of the students and pupils were said to have run out of their classrooms upon sighting the bandits in the school premises. 

Unfortunately, the unceasing spate of kidnapping, among other criminal activities in parts of the country, has been linked to the collapse of the local government administrations in the country.

Experts contended that since there were no more resources at the grassroots to sustain the government closest to the people, the locals have resorted either to crimes by themselves or aided it as a means to survive.

For instance, experts had long linked the collapse of council administration to the state and local government joint account system, which enables the state governors to capture resources belonging to the local governments and instead give the councils peanuts, which are scarcely enough to even administer the councils and pay salaries of local workers.

Many analysts repeatedly accused state governors of deliberately emasculating this critical area of governance to the complete underdevelopment of the grassroots.

The resultant effects of this included low economic activities and zero infrastructure at the grassroots level, resulting in mass poverty and by implication, the rise of crimes, especially kidnapping.

Spokesperson of the Kaduna State police command, Mansir Hassan, who confirmed the incident, did not give details as he was attending a security meeting.

But he said a police tactical team had been deployed to go after the criminals and rescue the victims.

“I am attending a security meeting, but a police tactical team has been deployed to go after the criminals by combing the bushes to rescue the victims. This is all I can say for now,” Hassan said in a telephone chat. 

Nevertheless, a teacher at the school, Sani Abdullahi, who gave a firsthand account of what happened, disclosed that one person was killed while about 287 students and pupils as well as their teachers were abducted by the bandits.

He gave the figure when the Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani, alongside government officials, visited the area on Thursday evening.

Abdullahi said a member of the Kaduna State Vigilante Service (KADVS) was killed by the bandits while 187 students and 125 pupils were missing, totaling 312 students.

He however, added that 25 pupils from the primary school later escaped and returned home, leaving the number of the abducted at 287. 

“At GSS Kuriga, 187 students are presently missing. In the primary school, 125 pupils were initially missing, but 25 of them escaped and retired home,” Abdullahi told the governor. 

Narrating exactly how the incident happened, he said he resumed work by 7:47am and entered the Acting Principal’s office to sign the staff register. 

“All of a sudden, the Acting Principal asked me to look at my back and when I turned, we discovered that bandits had surrounded the school premises.

“We became confused. We didn’t know where to go. Then, the bandits ordered us to enter the bush, so we obeyed them because they were many. 

“So, when we entered the bush, I was lucky to escape alongside many other people. I returned to the village and reported what happened to the community. 

“Immediately our vigilante and personnel of Kaduna Vigilante Service (KADVS) followed the bandits, but the vigilante did not succeed. The bandits killed one of the vigilante, we just buried him a short while ago. 

“It was when we came back that we briefed the Village Head and we started making efforts to find out the actual number of pupils and teachers taken by the bandits.”

Speaking during the visit, Governor Uba Sani, said he was saddened by news of the incident. 

“Since I received the sad news of this incident, I have not had any rest of mind because every child in Kaduna State is my child. So, I don’t want you people to be disturbed. 

“Let’s us pray to God to help and on our part as a government, we will not rest until these children return home,” the governor told the community.”

Sani promised to establish a Police Station and build a permanent camp for the military in the community.

He said he had briefed the National Security Adviser (NSA), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, about the incident, adding that efforts were being made to deploy security forces to rescue the children. 

“We will do whatever we need to do to ensure the safe return of these children, even if it means coming to Kuriga to stay with you,” the governor assured. 

In a related development, Speaker of the House of Representatives, TJ Abbas, in a statement, on Thursday, by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa  Krishi, condemned an earlier incident in Borno State, and charged the military as well as other security agencies to go after the abductors and rescue the victims.

Suspected Boko Haram members had Wednesday stormed an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Gamboru Ngala town in Borno State and abducted scores of the IDPs, most of whom are women.

Thus, reacting to the news, the speaker decried that the attacks were coming at a time when the troubled North-East and North-West were about getting some respite from bandits and terrorists occupation.

While praying for the safe return of the abductees, Abbas urged the security agencies to deploy all resources for their rescue.

He noted that the 10th House under his leadership would do everything possible legislatively to increase the capacity of the military and paramilitary agencies towards security life and property across Nigeria.

Fulani Groups Demand 108 million as Compensation for Rustled Cows

Meanwhile, a coalition of Indigenous Fulani Groups in Plateau State, has condemned the recent killing of a herder, Abubakar Abdulmumuni, whose “175 cows and 30 sheep were also rustled.”

Alleging that the acts were perpetrated by Berom, Mwaghavul and Ron ethnic militias in Mangu, Bokkos and Barki Ladi Local Government Areas of the state, the group demanded N108 million from the state government as compensation to the owners of the cows and sheep.

Addressing newsmen in Jos, Chairman of the group, Garba Abdullahi Muhammad, said another Fulani, Abdussalam Ibrahim, was also inflicted with machete cuts, and was receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in the area.

The coalition alleged that the attackers opened gunfire on their victims without provocation while they were grazing their cows in a barren field at Nafan and Nyerwei village in Fan district of Barki Ladi LGA.

Meanwhile, Governor Caleb Mutfwang of the state, while reacting to the attack in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Mr. Gyang Bere, expressed shock over the report of the attack by unknown persons in Barki Ladi LGA.

The governor condemned the act as lawlessness, saying it undermined his government’s effort and commitment to entrenching harmonious living among all and sundry in the state.

He warned that the government would no longer tolerate such acts of brutality on innocent citizens in their farms who were in pursuit of their legitimate means of livelihood.

John Shiklam, Adedayo Akinwale and Seriki Adinoyi