The Nigeria Union of Teachers on Tuesday threatened to embark on a nationwide strike following the continued threat to the lives of its members and students.
The Secretary-General of the NUT, Dr. Mike Ene, stated this in a statement in Abuja while reacting to the abduction of 333 students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State and other cases in the country.
Ene said this just as one of the abducted students narrated how he escaped from bandits.
The Junior Secondary School 2 student,Tsanni Mani, in an interview with journalists in Kankara, said he escaped from the bandits very early on Saturday morning.
He also said the bandits divided the abducted boys into batches.
Mani spoke 24 hours after the killing of the two of the abducted boys was reported.
Reacting to the abduction, the NUT called on government at all levels to ensure adequate security and 24-hour surveillance in schools in order not to escalate the disruption of the academic calendar.
The NUT said it was highly disturbed by the re-emerging school invasion and abduction of teachers and students across the country’s educational institutions.
It stated, “The wicked and merciless hands of anti-education terrorists clinched Mr Alu Ola Paul a head teacher with Olagua Primary School Ohordua in Edo State, and kidnapped him on his way to work on December 1, 2020 and released him six day later.
“ On December 8, 2020, Mrs. Gladys Niemogha Belleh and Mrs. Blessing Emunefe both of whom are teachers of Ohorhe Secondary School, Effurun in Delta State were kidnapped in their school premises by bandits and have yet to be released, thereby throwing both families, students, and the school community into emotional and overall destabilization.
“Similarly, the night of Friday, December 11, 2020, Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, was invaded by bandits with reports that 333 students yet to be accounted for as of today. This dastardly act has sent shivers down the spines of other members of the entire school community of Katsina state.
“In light of these recent developments, the NUT may be compelled to down tools, pending when it is safe for our members to teach and guide our pupils and students without fear of abduction by these faceless enemies of educational prosperity of the Nigerian nation.
“The NUT herewith extends our appeal to all stakeholders to join hands with the government and security agencies to provide adequate protection for the students, pupils, teachers and the school communities, to ensure that educational activities are not hampered by enemies of the nation’s educational system using schools as soft targets.
“In order not to escalate the disruption of our academic calendar which is in a fragile state as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, the NUT unequivocally calls on the federal, state and local governments to ensure adequate security and 24 hour surveillance around our schools.
“Also the government must begin to consider the implementation of life insurance and hazard allowance to teachers in our basic and senior secondary schools as approved by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day 2020.”
In Kankara, one of the abducted students, Mani, said his escape was aided by one of the bandits very early on Saturday.
Mani stated, “My escape is a miracle. But all I know was that all along when we were abducted, I kept on saying Allahu Akbar (God is great). The bandits divided us into batches so I cannot give exact figures of all of us. It was one of the bandits whom God used to ensure my escape early Saturday morning.
“The bandit showed me an escape route very early Saturday morning which made me to escape and return home.”
A parent, Faiza Kankara, had on Monday said that her son was among the abducted students. She said the son, who escaped, told her that the bandits killed two of the students.
The two students were said to have been killed while trying to escape.
Boko Haram takes responsibility for Katsina schoolboys’ abduction, denies negotiating with FG
Terrorist group, Boko Haram, on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the abduction of over schoolboys.
Boko Haram, however, said it had not entered into negotiations with the government contrary to claims by the authorities.
The terror group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, stated this in a recording released on Tuesday morning and obtained by HumAngle.
Like in the case of the abduction of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls in 2014, Shekau in his latest recording said the dastardly act was done in order to discourage people from obtaining western education.
“What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his Holy Prophet.
“They are also not teaching what Allah and his Holy Prophet commanded. They are rather destroying Islam. It may be subtle, but Allah the Lord of the skies and earths knows whatever is hidden. May Allah promote Islam. May we die as Muslims. In a nutshell, we are behind what happened in Katsina.”
There were fears in Kankara on Tuesday over the report that the Boko Haram insurgents had claimed responsibility for the abduction.
Although the GSSS Kankara and other schools in the state had been closed down, people who claimed to be relatives of the parents of the abducted students were seen sitting down outside the premises of the school.
Another parent, Jamilu Lawan said he had been coming to the school since Saturday hoping to get information on the abducted students.
He said, “My sister’s son is among the students abducted and I have been coming here( the school) since Saturday, hoping that we shall hear any news concerning them .
I have been staying till evening everyday before returning to our town,Ruwangodiya.We have not heard anything besides the claims of the Book Haram and the news that two of the students had been killed.”
The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, in an interview with a German radio, Deutsche Welle(DW) disclosed that 17 additional students of the school had been found and reunited with their parents.
The governor said” As of today (Monday), information available to me shows that 17 of the missing children have been found. 15 of them were found around Dinya in Danmusa( LGA). I was informed by the DPO. One other was found through them and the last, the father called that his son has returned home.
“All these missing children found have been reunited with their families since we have shut down schools.”
“Majority of the students were in the forest in Zamfara .Efforts are on for their rescue.”
Men of the Intelligent Response Team of the Nigeria Police Force on Tuesday arrived Katsina State as part of efforts aimed at rescuing the student.
Members of the team were led by their commander, Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Their arrival in the state was announced in different messages posted on different social media platforms on Tuesday.
Photographs of members of the team were attached to the team.
In order to prevent similar attacks, Zamfara State Government on Tuesday shut its boarding schools.
The state Commissioner of Education, Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, who disclosed this at a press conference in Gusau, the state capital, said the schools would remain closed until the security improved.
Abdullahi said, “We will not want what happened in Katsina to happen in Zamfara State.
“All the principals of the affected schools have been directed to ensure immediate closure of the affected schools.
In Kano State, the state government said it had taken all necessary security measures to ensure that all its schools were secured in the state.
The former minister, who is one of the Co-Conveners of the Bring Back Our Girls group which led the demonstrations for the rescue of over 250 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno State, said the recent abduction of schoolboys was evidence that Nigeria had incompetent persons at the helm of affairs.
On whether the government was capable of tackling insecurity, she said, “Which government are you talking about? The one that has failed children and people? The one that has been in office while people have been abducted and slaughtered, where even our police and soldiers have been victims of terrorism?
“The government that has rebranded terrorism as banditry? Which government are you talking about? It is annoying that they consider themselves as a government. There is no government in my country right now. This country is not being governed.”
Ezekwesili said it was unfortunate that students were being abducted on a large scale. She recalled that Leah Sharibu, who was abducted from Dapchi had been in captivity for years.
It is absolute incompetence and an uncaring indifferent ruling class that does not understand what it means to govern. So, it is a repetitive pattern of bad governance and I have
“I have come to a point where I am saying to my fellow citizens that if we accept this, it will never stop,” the former minister said.
Also, the pan-northern organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum on Tuesday said Nigeria as a country was no longer safe under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
It said this during its Board of Trustees meeting in Kaduna.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the BoT meeting at the ACF Secretariat, the National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, noted that the forum was even tired of the complaining because the government appeared inactive about the insecurity.
According to the ACF spokesman, Nigerian leaders should tell Nigerians what would happen if their own children were kidnapped like the poor masses.
“Today’s (Tuesday) meeting is very crucial to the operations of the ACF because it is the first meeting of the newly constituted Board of Trustees.
“We discussed security and we are worried because Nigerians are not very secured. We are not happy about insecurity in the country. We are looking at the immediate ways and long term of getting security improved.”
On the abduction of the students, the group said it was most disturbing for the government to say they were still negotiating with the bandits on how to release the boys.
He said, “It has been in the news that over 300 students were kidnapped and taken away in Katsina and the government is saying they are negotiating with the kidnappers to free the students.
“These are some of the things that are very distressful and disturbing to all members of the ACF. We are not happy with the security situation at all.
We have called on the government severally and we keep on saying that we are not going to allow banditry to take over our country.
“Bandits went to the school, packed students on bikes, and took them to the forest. Whatever is happening to them in the forest, nobody knows. The situation is very distressing. Our leaders should tell us what will happen if their children are among those kidnapped.”
The ACF spokesman added, “ACF complained about this insecurity in its October meeting, nothing was done. We are in December with the same complaint, nothing is being done.
We are even tired of complaining. The government should have the love of the poor man at heart because it is a poor man that is really suffering. It is really sad. It is even ridiculing the country in the eyes of the international communities.
“Both the police and the Army seems to have been overwhelmed. It is really a distressful situation. The government should find ways of protecting the lives and property of the citizens because it is written there in the Constitution. If the government cannot do that, then it is really sad and unfortunate.”