Bandits Abduct 287 Students, Principal From Kaduna School

Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani

At least 312 students and a principal, Abubakar Isah  were abducted in broad day light on Thursday when bandits invaded the LEA Primary and Junior Secondary School, Kuriga in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Officials of the school and community leaders told Governor Uba Sani, alongside key government officials, who visited the school on Thursday, that 187 students were abducted from the secondary school section and 125 from the primary school section.

One of the teachers, Sani Abdullahi who escaped the abduction along others, said 25 of the pupils from the primary section had returned. This, he said, leaves 287 students and the principal in custody of the bandits.

Abdullahi told the governor that at exactly 7:47am, he entered the acting principal’s office to sign his attendance when all of a sudden, the bandits surrounded the school premises.

“We became confused; we didn’t know where to go. Then, the bandits asked us to enter the bush, so we obeyed them because there were many of them, and the pupils, who are about 700 were following us. So, when we entered the bush, I was lucky to escape alongside many other people.

“So, I returned to the village and reported what happened to the community. So, immediately our vigilantes and personnel of the Kaduna State Vigilance Service (KADVS) followed the bandits, but the vigilantes did not succeed. In fact, the bandits killed one of the vigilantes; we just buried him a short while ago,” he said.

All children will return unhurt – Gov Sani

Responding, Governor Sani said all the children would return soon.

“Before coming here, I spoke with the National Security Adviser (NSA), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, and we are making efforts. The security forces have swung into action, and by God’s grace, we will rescue the children,” the governor said.

“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 essence of government is the protection of citizens’ lives and property. We recognise the fact that we are holding this position in trust for the people, and by God’s grace, we will protect the citizens’ rights,” he said.

According to him, when he was in the Senate, he moved the motion for the creation of state police because he realised that there were no enough boots on the ground.

He said with state police, every community like Kuriga would have people in the police, and they would be armed with AK47 rifles to protect the lives and property of the citizens.

Orphans among the abducted

The secondary school in Kuriga, located outside the town, was moved to the primary school building inside the town a few years ago due to security breaches.

A resident, Nasiru Zakari Yau, said his two relatives were abducted from the school.

He listed their names as Faizah Ibrahim and Abdul Abdulwahab, saying all of them were taken to an unknown destination by their abductors.

“I know of about 20 orphans among the abducted students, including two of my relatives and most of these orphans’ parents were killed by bandits in this community years back. Most of the houses in the village were affected by this abduction,” he said.

Nasiru added that the community only has vigilantes for years due to the absence of police in the village, adding that this was why though they got the report of the bandits’ presence outside the village on Wednesday around 6pm and due to the poor telecommunication network, they could not call for assistance from security agencies.

Another resident, Lawal Kuriga, told Daily Trust that the students were moved like animals into the forest by the bandits.

“The situation was terrible because there was poor telecommunication network…Students, including boys and girls were abducted,” he said.

Another resident, who simply identified himself as Shitu, said his in-law, a community leader in Kuriga, informed him of the incident, which he described as “very disturbing.”

He also said most of the students ran out of their classes when they sighted the bandits within the school premises.

One of the parents, whose daughter, Safiya Hassan of JSS 3, was among those abducted, said he was traumatized by the incident. He said the incident happened due to lack of security in the community for years.

According to him, the local vigilantes in the village could not contain banditry in the because the assailants were more sophisticated.

“We are appealing for more security deployment in this community, and we hope the government will help rescue our daughters,” he said.

Similarly, another resident whose younger brother and sister’s children were among those abducted, frowned at the situation.

“My younger brother’s son was abducted while my sister had three of her children abducted. We used to have a police station in the village, but it was later closed down, and the policemen taken out of the village,” he said.

He prayed to God to come to their aid saying “the community is really in need of God’s intervention over the incident.”

Daily Trust further gathered from the locals that some of the children escaped to nearby houses, but the bandits chased them and took them away.

It was gathered that those who ran into nearby farms and those who layed under school chairs were the only ones that escaped abduction.

Our correspondent gathered that the school was not fenced with most of the roofs of the classes removed, and that the bandits stormed the area on more than 20 motorcycles.

We’re on trail of abductors

Kaduna State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Mansir Hassan, who confirmed the incident, said police officers and soldiers were trailing the abductors to rescue the victims.

Speaker Abbas, others condemn abduction

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, on Thursday condemned the mass abductions by suspected terrorists and bandits in Borno and Kaduna states.

He 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.

Speaker Tajudeen, while praying for the safe return of the abductees, urged the security agencies to deploy all resources for their rescue.

Also, Senator Lawal Adamu Usman, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial zone, said that in the last few weeks of the year 2023, Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone had witnessed escalation of tensions as result of terrorists’ attacks, killings and abductions in several communities in Kajuru, Chikun, Birnin-Gwari, Giwa and Igabi Local governments.

“Today, I am saddened and in a state of rude shock over the abduction of pupils of primary school and students of Secondary School at Kuriga, Chikun local government area, along the dreaded Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna highway.

“The spate of gruesome attacks and abductions in recent days has demoralized the citizens and further put them in a traumatic condition without any insight of a sign of releaf.

“As the Senator representing the area, I extend my deepest sympathy to all the parents and families of the pupils and students abducted and all those that lost their precious lives.”

Speaking on the development, Senator Shehu Sani, who represented the senatorial zone in the past, described the development as “tragic”.

The former senator, who posted the incident on his X verified account, expressed optimism that the freedom of the students will be secured.

“It is the same village where a school principal, Idris Sufyan was killed and his wife kidnapped over a month ago. However, I am optimistic their freedom will be secured”, he said.

Escalating wave of school abductions condemnable – NEF

Citing the Kuriga attack, the Northern Elders Forum has expressed its deep concern over the escalating security crisis in the North, stating that it is saddened by the worsening state of security in the nation highlighted by the alarming increase in school abductions.

The NEF said recent attack and mass abductions in Kuriga village, have once again brought to the forefront the grave security challenges facing Northern Nigeria.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), in a strongly worded statement signed by Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, Director of Publicity and Advocacy, said: “This incident, where over 200 students and teachers were kidnapped from LEA Primary school, further underscores the fragile state of security in the nation.”

The NEF lamented the fact that the abduction of schoolchildren has now become a common occurrence in Northern Nigeria, posing a serious threat to education in the region. This reprehensible act not only violates the fundamental rights of these innocent children to education but also instills fear and anxiety among parents and educators.

“The recent wave of school abductions, where innocent children are being taken from their schools, is particularly distressing. These incidents not only traumatize the victims and their families but also undermine the educational system and the future of the nation.

“It is clear that the current security situation is a matter of grave concern, and it is imperative that all stakeholders work together to find lasting solutions to these challenges,” NEF said.

The NEF also highlighted the broader implications of such acts of violence on the fabric of Nigerian society. The continuous occurrence of kidnappings, killings, armed robberies, and violent attacks, not just in the rural areas but even in the federal capital, is a stark reminder of the pervasive insecurity that plagues the nation. It is a tragic reality that Nigerians are living under constant fear of being targeted by criminal elements.

ActionAid too

The ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has expressed outrage by the recent spate of abductions in Nigeria, including the reported abduction of over 200 internally displaced persons (IDPs), mostly women in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State and the kidnapping of about 100 pupils at LEA Primary School, Kuriga in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The Country Director of AAN, Mr Andrew Mamedu, on Thursday night in a statement said that these brazen acts of terror on innocent civilians, which tragically mirror past atrocities such as the abductions of the Chibok and Dapchi girls, is condemnable.

“We call on the Kaduna and Borno states governments and the Federal Government of Nigeria to prioritise the urgent rescue of the abducted IDPs and ensure their safe return to their families. Every passing moment without action brings us closer to a repeat of the tragic outcomes witnessed in previous abductions.

“It is absurd and unacceptable that over 200 Nigerians in Borno State have been kidnapped since 29th February without any decisive action being taken to rescue them, and that scores of children were abducted in Kaduna state just a few days later. We refuse to tolerate the same failures and slow progress in rescuing our abducted compatriots,” Mamedu said.

He also demanded accountability and justice for all the victims of the abductions, asking all security agencies to learn from past mistakes and take decisive action to prevent further harm to the victims.

DAILY TRUST

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