Support us to rescue our children – Parents
By Adesina Wahab
Some critical stakeholders in the education sector have called on the government to match words with actions and stop grandstanding and secure the release of students and other persons who were abducted at various times by gunmen in schools across the country.
They also described as dastardly and inhuman, the killing of three students of Greenfield University, Kaduna State who were abducted last week by gunmen who invaded their campus.
The stakehoders included the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT.
In different interviews with Vanguard yesterday, the stakeholders noted that incessant abductions of students and teachers in schools could lead to a total paralysis of education in the country and that such would have dire consequences on the nation.
The National President of NAPTAN, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said it was unfortunate that the government appeared helpless in tackling the menace.
“It is very unfortunate. As parents, we are becoming helpless and the government we rely on does not seem to know what to do. While the security personnel seem to be groping in the dark.The bandits mean business and are ready for the worse, after abducting our children, they have started killing them.
“The government too is not willing to do anything. They say they are not going to negotiate, but negotiation does not mean giving the bandits money. It means finding soiution to the issue, it may not necessarily mean giving them money, it could mean asking them what they want,” he said.
Create the atmosphere for us to rescue them
When asked what could be done since government would not agree to negotiation, the NAPTAN President suggested that the government should support any effort by the parents to secure the release of their wards.
“A child is dead is better than the child is missing. Parents of a missing child, in this case an abducted child, would be in constant psychological trauma. So, if the government is not negotiating, let them create the atmosphere for the parents to find ways to rescue their children. Federal and state governments are not doing enough. They appear helpless too. Education in the North is under serious threat as nobody is safe, the students, their parents and the teachers are not safe,” he said.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the development was a reflection of the high level of insecurity and lawlessness in the country, and that it called for urgent attention by government at all levels.
“The government has responsibility to secure lives and properties of Nigerians. Comprehensive and urgent response from the government is needed now. If our academic institutions are not safe, then this is very unfortunate. The way things are going, the future of education is at stake. We must not allow the country to slide into anarchy because we shall all be affected.
“For our union, what we are after is that the government should take steps that no further attack takes place. Prevention is better and cheaper than cure. Government is not proactive but they appear to be only reactive. They knew out educational institutions had become targets, but what steps did they take?
“Our youths are the future of our country, but if we allow education to die, we are in trouble and doomed. The youths can move to other nations but what about us the older generation. Our future is evaporating right before our eyes and that is not good. Grandstanding about non-negotiation is not enough. What we are asking them is what measures have they put in place to prevent recurrence?.
The National Secretary of the NUT, Dr Mike Ene, said, “Nobody will be clapping that a child sent to school is missing or killed, it is not palatable. When you hand over your child to a school, you are expecting a good product to be moulded. What do they want to get from the students?. It is unbecoming and unfortunate. Bandits are trying to extinguish education in the country. No government would succumb to intimidation .
“Let us realise that there is a day of judgment and we will be judged after this life. There is serious sabotage in the security system. Also it is time to teach our students how to react when there is danger.”
The National Treasurer of the NUT, Comrade Segun Raheem, said the situation was getting to a point where parents would not want to send their children to school again.
“The situation is going to a point where parents may be wary of sending their children to school and children too may not be interested in going to school. We need to declare a state of emergency in the education sector for stakehoders to deliberate on the way forward. Security agents must work together and do things in common. Community too should be involved in the matter.
“There are reasons why these people target schools not for monetary issues alone, but to discourage people from going to school.
The matter we have on hand now is beyond blame game, it is not a matter of political party A blaming political party B. The situation spells doom for the economy. Education determines he economic growth of the country. If our youths are discouraged from going to school, how would they contribute adequately and effectively to the economy of the country, ” he asked.
Recall that some students and staff of Greenfield University, Kaduna State were kidnapped last Tuesday by unknown gunmen.
Three of the students, a male and two females were killed at the weekend and their corpses dumped close to the campus.
On Saturday, the Registrar of the university, Bashir Muhammad, issued a statement lamenting the helplessness of the university management in securing the release of the students.
He appealed to the government and well-meaning individuals to come to the aid of the school.
The abductors are demanding N800 million ransom to free the students and Governor Nasir el-Rufai has ruled out any negotiation with the bandits.
Apart from the undergraduates, over 20 students of the School of Forestry and Mechanisation, Afaka, also in Kaduna State are still being help by bandits.
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