REVIEW - Nigeria Grapples With Inability To Protect Children After Another School Abduction

JOHANNESBURG (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 02nd March, 2021) As 279 kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria's northwestern state of Zamfara have been released from captivity safe and sound, the country is forced to reckon with the government's inability to stem the tide of student kidnappings.

On Monday, the girls, nabbed by gunmen from the Government Girls Secondary School in Zamfara's town of Jangebe last Friday, were released. None of the kidnapped girls were reported to have suffered from sexual violence. The incident comes on the heels of a similar incident in Zamfara two weeks ago when 300 schoolgirls were abducted and later released.

According to Chidi Lemchi, a Lagos-based political analyst, as much as religion and tribalism are to blame for the lack of security, the northwestern part of Nigeria is in dire need of policing, which is hampered by the current structure in which the states do not have control over the police.

"Nigeria is a Federal state on paper. It is, in actual fact, a unitary system of government. Each and every state is on its own. The police cannot just investigate. Abuja must first make the call ... If you were to be abducted in Abuja, the matter will be taken to the commissioner of police in charge of all states. It's a whole bureaucratic step," Lemchi told Sputnik.

The analyst mentioned that the terrorist group Boko Haram is largely responsible for abducting school children for ransom, adding that the mere fact that government agrees to negotiate with terrorists perpetuates the crisis.

"It's totally out of control. It is becoming increasingly difficult to move from Lagos to Ibado, you might end up kidnapped; it is happening in Abuja, a woman was abducted while jogging. Banditry, kidnapping for ransom is very endemic in Nigeria. Government has no answer to it," Lemchi continued.

The expert went on to lay the blame directly at the feet of President Muhammadu Buhari, who does not give this issue the necessary attention as members of his own Fulani ethnic group are said to be involved in them, working closely with Boko Haram.

"Fulani herdsmen are responsible for this. President Buhari was a Fulani man before. He was a cattle rearer. They destroy everything and farms. Fulani herdsmen kill rape or destroy the community, so Buhari's hands are tied. A group of young men protested against this and were arrested for speaking badly about the president," Lemchi stated.

Aisha Yesufu, a Nigerian social activist, told Sputnik that Nigeria did not learn its lesson from the Chibok girls abduction in 2014, describing the abduction of school children as big business in the country and also blaming the president.

"President Muhammadu Buhari is incompetent and clueless. He is corrupt, inept and a failure, he is careless; he is heartless, irresponsible and protective. It is happening and we hear nothing from the president. He says one thing and the opposite happens. He does not even have the capacity to effectively engage with terrorists. He needs to go," Yesufu said.

The activist said that when over 300 schoolboys were kidnapped in December in the northern state of Katsina, Buhari's home state, the president responded by making a visit and giving hope that the terrorists would retreat, which did not happen.

"So that means they have zero regard for him, and here we are again in Zamfara state girls are abducted from their schools, we can't continue like this in this country something has to give, the world must not be silent. The Nigerian government must account and be held responsible to protect the lives and property of its citizens," Yesufu lamented.