From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
A Bethel Baptist High School teacher in Kaduna, Emmanuel Paul, has said that 140 students were abducted by bandits on Monday, just as angry parents have staged a protest, blocking the Kaduna-Kachia highway and calling for a state of emergency in the state.
Mr Paul said the bandits operated between 1 am to 2 am under heavy gunfire.
Parents, frustrated by bandit attacks and abductions in their communities, are holding Governor Nasir El-Rufai responsible for failing to protect lives and property.
Security agents are reported to have rescued 26 out of the abducted victims, but parents insisted that the supposedly rescued students escaped by themselves.
Speaking to reporters, one of the parents, Caroline Emmanuel said: ‘I have an only child and my only surviving child and the Government is not doing anything about it.
‘In fact, the students that they were claiming to have rescued came back on their own. The security did not rescue anybody because they have already started saying that soldiers rescued them and even soldiers were killed while rescuing the children. So, no soldier rescued any child.
‘One thing should be noted, bandits have been killing us, they just entered Nissi community last two weeks, they came to my house… They kidnapped people at Nissi, the bandits have been kidnapping people and killing them anyhow. We can’t even go to the farm, we can’t do anything again.
‘Now they are coming to school again. Enough is enough. Kaduna State should declare a state of emergency if El-Rufai cannot do anything. He has failed. He is not doing anything. They just come blowing siren, they should go to the bush if they are serious.
‘They have refused to enter the bush and a soldier is firing bullet here to disperse harmless parents, who are protesting on the road, carrying just leaves. Why should they fire bullets in the midst of aggrieved parents when they are supposed to be in the forest rescuing our children. Why, why?
‘Since morning (yesterday), around 4 am that we were here, no soldier or police had entered the bush in search of the kidnapped students. But he is here firing bullets at innocent parents that are just holding leaves. For what na, for what?
‘What kind of mistrust and betrayal is this? A state of emergency should be declared in Kaduna State.’
Another parent, Esther Joseph, said: ‘It was around 6 am that they called me that: “Do you know that they have kidnapped some students in Bethel school? Please go and check.” I was calling the teachers, nobody picked my call, the security, no one picked my call. It was the person I sent on Saturday to go see my daughter that I asked why is it that the management of the school did not close the school and relocate to Ungwan Boro?
‘Why did they not relocate the school, a school that is located where bandits are carrying people. They should close the schools,’ she said.
A fortunate parent, Mr Amos Amtu, however, expressed gratitude to God for saving his child from being among those abducted.
According to Amtu: ‘My son is also a student of the school and I was to return him back to school on Sunday evening but I got tired so I told him to relax till Monday morning, only to hear the news of the abduction when I was preparing to take him back. I am thankful to God.’