Insecurity: From Chibok Girls To Kankara Schoolboys

The kidnapping of students in Nigeria by terrorists remains a topic of interest as it brings to light the state of insecurity in the country. It basically sends a clear message that no one is safe. It is disheartening that school children are mostly targeted by the perpetrators of these violent crimes. 

According to Karl Marx, history keeps repeating itself. First, as a tragedy, because it is an incident that shouldn’t have occurred. Then, as a farce, because we failed to learn from our past mistakes. That is the situation in which we, the citizens of Nigeria, have found ourselves in. 

The abduction of Chibok girls on April 14, 2014, served as a red flag because it showed the need for the country’s borders to be strengthened. Here, 276 female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno state, were whisked away and taken into captivity by Boko Haram insurgents. The girls were led into Sambisa forest.

Although some were rescued, over 100 girls are still missing.

After almost four years, another abduction of female school girls occurred in neighboring Yobe state on Monday, February 19, 2018, at exactly 5:30 pm. About 110 female students of Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, between the ages of 11–19 years old, suffered the same predicament as they suddenly disappeared without a trace. Boko Haram terrorists once again claimed responsibility for the kidnap. However, in March of the same year, the government claimed that the girls had been freed. 

While the country was still trying to recover, hundreds of gunmen riding on motorbikes raided a boarding school in Kankara, Katsina state, and seized more than 300 schoolboys on the 11th of December 2020. The boys were also taken into Rugu forest.

However, some of the schoolboys were able to scale the fence and run for their lives when they heard gunshots that night. To make matters worse, the tragic event happened on the same day Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, traveled to the state for the festive period.

The schoolboys were released days after negotiations between the government and kidnappers. One of the freed boys explained their harrowing experience to BBC, saying that they were subjected to harsh conditions as they were beaten, and forced to walk barefooted through the night.

Eight days later, a fresh attack happened in Mahuta village, Dandume local government area of Kastina state. Armed men reportedly kidnapped at least 80 schoolchildren, most girls while they were returning home after participating in a religious ceremony. Police later revealed that the victims were rescued.

Nigerians can only hope that the spate of kidnapping in the country is brought to the barest minimum.