By Usman Abdullahi Koli
If there is a place where pupils should be safer then it is school. The provision of this safety is now a herculean task for our governments, whose major obligation is to guarantee the security of lives and property. School goers, the toddlers, and our children whom we are to hand over our lives to in the future need to be trained and secure in a way that posterity will be fair to us.
In what looks like allusion, there was a man in my village, whose story wasn’t hiding to us –the villagers. He had 6 wives and 36 children. One day, something terrible happened in the family that remained unknown till today, the man became so angry that he left the village without his large family and he was nowhere to be found.
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The family kept on battling each other till all were lost. The man, after some time, he returned when his family had perished and he became so lonely and subsequently committed suicide.
Before he died, he went around the village while saying: “I lost everything I had because I could not secure my family. I failed to perform my duties as a father.” He warned people around to learn from his fall. Not many people could decode his song of lamentation until after his body was found dead in the blood. This incident happened 100 years back.
Back to the Federal Government of Nigeria who said that it could not secure all schools, then that simply means that it cannot secure all Nigerians from the monsters it made –the bandits. Education Minister, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba told parents to be vigilant, “we can’t secure all schools”. It was shocking. This is a self-defeat.
Nwajiuba also claimed that almost all schools in the country were fenced.” Whether a school is fenced or not, the fact is that our schools need security. Please, not the kind of those community volunteers who only armed with a stick against the AK47 carrying bandits.
The minister affirmed this by saying that perimeter fencing, by the community, is not too effective. The security consciousness is the thing. If you hear where some of them are being held, you will know that it is a question of self-consciousness and communities informing officials on time, this is what he said.
By this statement, hopefully not misquoted as they always claimed when the damage has been done, is pathetic and barbaric. In a country that can not provide for its citizens a better environment to live neither a conducive atmosphere nor good infrastructures, yet the masses are not complaining and still have the confidence to take their wards to school, a place that is not better than a zoo.
It’s an affirmation of self-defeat for any government to say it cannot secure all schools. It would have been better if the FG listed the schools they can secure and the ones they can’t so that we know what to do. As a student, living in fear of being abducted gives me a psychological problem and this has been truncating my studies interest.
In Kankara, Kagara, Jangebe, Birnin Gwari students and teachers were chased by bandits, these bandits request ransom, video students in a very terrible situation, and yet the government is only negotiating and paying the ransoms.
What is the use of our security forces? If the government cannot secure and safeguard the only place to learn how to write, read and interact and it is planning to shut down some schools, it is building more potential threats.
I often asked myself this question, are these bandits more powerful, skillful than our troops or are they untraceable or the government failed to perform its responsibility for which it was enthroned? The governor of Zamfara claimed that there were people fueling these criminals, why not fish them out so that we can rest.
Abacha said that “If insurgency lasts for more than 24 hours in a country, the government has a hand in it”. I suggest the government should adopt the strategy of Kaduna Man, for now, that’s the solution. The FG should follow the necessary not due process to end this daunting issue so that our schools will be free and the nation will protect its future leaders.
Koli, a student of Mass Communication Department, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi