The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ ) had raised the alarm that Nigeria’s education sector was facing immediate threat following spate of kidnapping of large number of students from school by suspected bandits.
NAWOJ, which the umbrella body of women journalists in Nigeria, raised the alarm in a press statement by the National President, Ladi Bala, Friday in Abuja.
It read in part: “The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ ) condemns, in very strong terms, the recent abduction of over 200 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, Kaduna state, North-West Nigeria.
“The latest abduction which is the fourth in the series of attacks on schools in last two months, calls for urgent and proactive actions by the Federal Government and security agencies to halt the activities of criminals in the country.
“From Kankara in Katsina State, to Kagara in Niger, Jangebe in Zamfara and now Kaduna state, with the same mode of operation is certainly one attack too many for comfort.
“The question on the lips of many Nigerians is when will this act of criminality which is exposing our innocent children to dangers in the forest end?
“It is quite disheartening to note that in recent times schools in northern Nigeria have come under serious security threat, thereby putting teaching and learning in jeopardy.”
The association further stated, “This ugly trend no doubt spells doom for the future of young Nigerians especially our cherished young boys and girls who are iur future leaders.
“The cherry picking in our schools if allowed to continue is certainly not in the best interest of our great nation.
“While concerted efforts are being put in place by government and development partners to bridge the gaps of learning lost to COVID-19, the wave of abductions of students is counterproductive.
“When schools are no longer safe for learning owing to the activities of criminals that seem to have taken over and calling the shots, it is not only inimical but retrogressive as well as alarming in Nigeria’s developmental stride.”
NAWOJ called on government at all levels to ensure all boarding schools have perimeter fence and that security personnel were deployed to keep watch over school environments in Nigeria.
According to the president, “The decision to close schools by some state governors could serve as preventive steps in the interim but not in the best interest of students and education.
“The Nigerian government must not allow criminal elements to hijack and hold education and other sectors to ransom.
“NAWOJ views the attacks on our schools as a deliberate attempt to scuttle the Nigerian government’s achievement in the reduction in out of school children from the alarming rate of over twelve million to seven million.
“It is in the light of this that NAWOJ avers that the time to act is now. No more negotiation with abductors and related criminals in the interest of safety of Nigerians.”