For Immediate Release
March 2, 2021
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) expresses relief on the release of 317 students of the Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Jangebe in Talata Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. While we rejoice with Nigeria and the families of the students on their release, we cannot but emphasise the need for a plan to ensure that this kind of child right violation does not repeat itself.
The CDD calls on government and relevant authorities including the Ministry of Education to come together and map out workable strategies that would ensure that every child is protected in his or her quest to seek development and learning.
Efforts should also be made to ensure that all abductees in captivity are released by their abductors without succumbing to any form of amnesty or ransom. The trauma of families with children in the hands of such deadly criminals can be better imagined. CDD finds it unacceptable that Nigerian children are being subjected to the dehumanizing and traumatic experiences, which the bandits have continued to subject them. It is a slap on the face of the entire country that common criminals have turned the national space into a lawless, chaotic, and non-habitable place. It is most unfair to the long-suffering citizens of Nigeria that the Buhari government has woefully failed to stem the tide of insecurity. It is not tenable that Nigerians, especially young people seeking an education, can no longer do so in a secure, peaceful, and conducive atmosphere.
In the face of these traumatic experiences for the families of young scholars abducted by criminal gangs, CDD believes it is time for the government to adopt a holistic approach to deter further attacks. The government can no longer continue to hide its head in the sands in the hope that the wave of the kidnapping of school children will simply go away. In fact from the evidence on the ground, the bandits will become even more daring, especially as they have been getting generous financial returns from hefty sums paid to them as ransom. The government, therefore, needs to effectively perform its primary function of ensuring the security of lives and property of all Nigerians. In this regard, CDD warns that the resort to measures meant to placate and pamper the criminals responsible for these abductions will lead to further heinous crimes.
Importantly, the government should revisit and update existing school security policies such as the Safe School Initiative. Subsequently, a common national template involving the security agencies and communities should be activated to respond to the current threat of mass abductions.
Finally, CDD calls on the government at all levels to work together to provide victims of abductions with the right psycho-social support. Given the trauma many of these students have passed through, their lives are not likely to be the same again. Part of the role of the government is to find ways to soothe the trauma of all released abductees, while the families of those killed have to be properly cared for. These steps are important because the country cannot afford to breed a set of traumatized, angry and frustrated citizens who feel let down by the country. Such feelings of resent and hopelessness may alienate the victims, and transform them into threats against society, if not properly managed.