The National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Professor Dickson Akoh, has called for stronger ties and collaboration among the state and non-state actors against banditry within Nigeria’s educational system.
Prof Akoh said 1,179 students have been kidnapped within seven years with some of them killed. The period corresponds to the period retired General Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) – which took office on May 29, 2015 – have been in power.
Akoh said there was need for both state and non-state actors to come together with the aim of protecting and securing institutions of learning from further attack.
The commandant said the trend was not only capable of instilling psychological fear on the students but capable of creating a disconnect in the educational system if not addressed.
He disclosed this in Abuja on during a walk against incessant invasion and kidnapping of students in our educational institutions.
The commandant added that the organisation would continue to deploy personnel to protect schools against bandits.
According Akoh, 1,179 students have been abducted in seven years in Nigeria.
“The sustained and repressive attacks by way of invasion, killings, pillaging, kidnapping for ransom and rape by bandits on educational institutions, especially secondary schools in parts of the country, which is getting to its peak, deserves the immediate attention and action by all relevant institutions of government, social organisations and people of goodwill to address headlong.
“It is through our collective commitments on how all and sundry can come together and form a strong bond against banditry under any guise in our institutions of learning that we can win the war against further invasion of our schools and kidnapping of our students.
“Historically, the kidnappers vis-à-vis the bandits focused their attack on the elites, captains of industry, and political office holders in the name of ventilating their anger and frustrations.
“But now, redirecting their attention on innocent youths and students, being soft targets, is to say the least an act taken too far and this calls for drastic measures to be emplaced if the war against banditry is to be won.
“At this juncture, permit me to restate that, statistically, from Chibok to Jangede and lately Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Mando, Kaduna, 1,179 students have been abducted in seven years with some of them either killed, forcefully married away, maimed or remained traumatised even after regaining freedom.
“I consider it pertinent to state that the students being kidnapped, maimed, raped, or killed may not be our biological children, brothers, or sisters but they unarguably remain the hopes and future of our dear nation.
“It is on this note that I appeal dispassionately to the conscience, regardless of our social, ethnic, religious, or political affiliations to rise in unison against the sustained, horrendous and murderous act of terrorism in our institutions of learning.”