By Hassan Zaggi
The Country Director of Plan International Nigeria, Hussaini Abdu, has condemned in strong terms the recent abduction of over 40 students and staff of a boarding school- Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State.
Plan International Nigeria is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) working on girls’ rights.
In a statement in Abuja, on Thursday, Abdu called on the governments at state and federal levels to ensure the safe return of the abducted students and teachers.
“We strongly condemn the constant attacks on children and educational facilities across the country. Education is a fundamental right of every child and under no circumstances should they be denied of it,” he said.
According to him, government needs to develop and deploy new strategies to deal with the new threats to the security and safety of children and their education.
“We advise the state governments to have a thorough security assessment of all boarding facilities and convert those in at-risks communities to day schools and return students from distant communities to schools within their immediate communities. This is to ensure that boarding schools are without children at night.
“We advise the governments at the federal and state levels to urgently address issues of security of schools and other learning centres, in line with the commitment of the country to the Safe School Declaration, an inter-governmental political commitment to schools’ security, it signed on to.
“Governments must also prioritise building of capacities of communities and support them to develop an early warning system and community-led security structures,” he noted.
Abdu described as shameful the abduction of the students barely few months after the recent kidnap of the school boys in Katsina.
“It is a shame that another kidnapping of school children has occurred again in Kagara, this time in Niger state barely two months after the Kankara, Katsina state incident,” he stressed.
It would be recalled that armed men reportedly stormed theGovernment Science College Kagara in Niger State at about 2am on Tuesday taking away more than 40 students, staff and family members, according to media report.