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Labour flays kidnapping of students

Alarmed by the kidnapping of 104 students of Federal Government College, Birnin- Yauri, Kebbi State, organised labour under the auspices of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has implored the Federal Government to take necessary measures to ensure the release of the students without causing further pain and anguish to their parents and guardians as well as the students themselves. In a press statement issued in Abuja, ASCSN acting National President, Comrade (Dr) Tommy EtimOkon, and the Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, stated that the kidnapping of the students and teachers was further proof that the security architecture in the country had continued to deteriorate. “We call on the Federal Government to urgently rejig the security architecture in the country and ensure that there is a synergy among security agencies as well as the communities in order to improve the security situation. “It is common knowledge that no society can develop if the government cannot guarantee safety of lives and property of the citizens,” the union stated.

The union posited that after the kidnapping of the students, many figures were being bandied about as to the number of students that were carted away by the terrorists but following inventory of students in the school including those that were able to escape, the Kebbi State Government had put the number of students kidnapped at 104, the average age of which is 11 years. Further information indicated that the terrorists had been trailed by security forces to the thick forests bordering Kebbi, Niger and Zamfara states and after a gun battle, one teacher was released at the weekend. The ASCSN lamented that innocent children were being subjected to harrowing trauma by the terrorists and that if nothing was done to check the trend, sooner or later children of school age in most communities in the country would be discouraged about the pursuit of educational careers. “If that is allowed to happen, in future, these children will not be able to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the globe. Besides, the continued kidnapping of school children will surely have devastating effects on the psyche of their parents, most of whom are workers, with the attendant negative impact on productivity, which will affect the nation’s economy.

“This will be most unfortunate and underscores the urgent need for drastic measures to be taken by the various tiers of Governments in the country to secure the school system,” the union stressed. According to the ASCSN, since President MuhammaduBuhari recently urged state governments and traditional rulers to secure their do mains instead of waiting for the Federal Government, the state governments must take up the challenge to strengthen vigilante groups in their states and provide them with necessary tools to confront terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers.

It emphasised that the security challenges in the country had overwhelmed the formal security agencies and that was why even the Minister of Defence few months ago admonished Nigerians to defend themselves against all manner of terrorists and kidnappers that had been running riot in all parts of the country. “If security situation in the country does not improve, foreign investors will continue to avoid coming to Nigeria to do business and so unemployment including poverty will continue to rise. “The self-acclaimed giant of Africa can certainly not continue to wobble like this and so the Governments at all levels must take decisive steps to address the collapsing security system in order to restore the confidence of the citizens in the country,” the union emphasised.

 

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