•I still’ve nightmares, says SSS III pupil
•We’re working on data base to beef up security –Commissioner
Almost three weeks after they were freed from their abductors, some pupils of the Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area, Niger State have said that they will not go back to the school unless the government builds a perimeter fencing round the school, even as the State government has promised to beef up security round schools in the state.
In separate interviews with Sunday Telegraph, some of the students narrated their experience which they said still gives them nightmares.
An SS3 student, Suleiman Lawal, said: “After what I went through in the hands of the kidnappers, I don’t think I will like to go to that school anymore except there is enough security.”
Speaking in the same vein, Abdullahi Adamu, simply said: “We suffered a lot, no food, no water. Even when we were served, they gave us food in our hands without plate. “At night and in the early hours of the day we are always cold. We slept outside and didn’t know where we were going. Once they come to us, they just beat us up and ordered us to start walking if we don’t want to die. I am not sure I will go back there unless the government can guarantee our safety by securing the school.”
For 20 year old Abubakar Sindi, while narrating his ordeal said: “the day we were kidnapped, we walked through the forest from 2:30pm till around 7pm. Unfortunately, all through our trekking there was no time to rest, drank water or even ate anything because they tortured us, ordered us to move fast or they will kill us. I was scared because the forest was thick.”
He continued: “I thought I was going to die. In fact, I am not sure I can ever go to my school and not remember the incident. If I see any bush or forest I will remember this incident. I am so scared”.
One of the freed students, Caleb Samaila said: “The kidnappers came to our hostel and they started shooting guns. If we had security on ground I am sure they would not have succeeded in kidnapping us. “When we noticed they are not soldiers but bandits, we started running anywhere.
They told us if we don’t stop they will shoot us, that was why we stopped and they tied us in twos.
“They pretended to be army, when we realized they are bandits, we started running, one of our student jumped over a window and he sustained injury. Another one was about to jump and they shot him dead”.
In order to build confidence in the students, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, said Government has mapped out strategies and the approach will address the issue of insecurity.
He said: “A database for all the schools would be opened as part of measures to improve security. The data base would include details about each pupil and their parents, school, the teachers and of course families of staffs”. The Niger State Commissioner of Police, Adamu Usman, said the responsibility of providing security in schools was that of the owners of the schools.
Accordingly, he said “we are encouraging the schools to provide fence, improve security and take the security of the schools serious. “There are over 100 boarding schools in the state and the Police cannot provide security for all of them”. The Commissioner of Education, Hajiya Hannatu Jibrin Salihu, said “the Government has directed the closure of all Public Secondary Schools for two weeks commencing from Friday, March 12th to Friday, March 26th, 2021. She said Government’s resolve was taken after an emergency consultative meeting with the leadership of Association of the Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Association of Model Islamic Schools (AMIS), Executive Chairman, Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB), Heads of Education Agencies, Directors of the Ministry and other stakeholders of the Education sector in the State.
According to her “the directive was based on the decision earlier taken during an interface the Ministry had with officials from various Security Agencies in the State”.
It should be noted that 22 Secondary Schools (11 Day and 11 Boarding Schools) have earlier been closed. She added that, “the two weeks closure of all Secondary Schools was necessary to give relevant Security Agencies the time and opportunity to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of all public secondary Schools.
“The exercise, when completed, will provide an all-inclusive mechanism and strategies that will restore and guarantee sustainable security and safety of Students, School infrastructure, Education managers, Teachers in the State