The hearts of Nigerians were stirred into uncontrollable wild rage after watching the kidnapped video of a young boy Master Jomiloju, aged 10 years, from Ondo State, when the kidnapper, a northerner, was able to contact the father of the small boy asking if the ransom of N30 million demanded was ready. Well, a jittery father was in tears when, despite his pleas, he was informed that the boy would no longer be fed but would be left to die of hunger while in captivity. Such a statement from the hoodlum further explains the character of the people we describe as bandits, Boko Haram and ISWAP.
These heartless people have made countless parents to shed “hot” tears while turning many children to orphans. I vividly recall, in the night of April 14, 2014, when a total of 276 mostly Christian female students aged from 16 to 18 who had returned to school at the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Chibok, Borno State. Pior to the raid, the school had been closed for four weeks due to deteriorating security conditions, but the girls who were to take final exams in Physics, w ere all kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. Since the Chibok incident, it seems security agents and the government have not learnt any lesson from the abduction.
This incident attracted the attention of the wife of the President of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama. Over a thousand reported and unreported kidnap cases have been going on around the country till date, and many are children still in captivity. As is usual with the Nigerian system, days after the Chibok incident, the Inspector-General of Police at the time, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onovo, directed that every government institution around the country should be provided with security by all police stations around them. Unfortunately, after his retirement, the directive was set apart.
The reason for dismantling that directive cannot be better explained but to believe that no one wants group victory but individual victory. Could this be the reason? This week, all the gates of primary and secondary schools would be opened like the anticipating mother whose children were returning home from a long journey as she spreads her arms wide to embrace them. These children in their millions would be returning to their schools after the long holidays. They would hear stories of insecurity like kidnapping and the activities of terrorists across the country. They will hear about how one or more of their teachers were kidnapped. They will hear about the death of their classmate or friends and many more of such stories. While those around the south-eastern part of the country would hear the story of how IPOB has used threats to instill fear in their parents, they would hear how even security agents, who ought to be protecting and reassuring the people of their safety, are the ones exhibiting traits of fear, and it is expected that after hearing they would surely be afraid of their enviroment.
Being children, stories around terrorism instantly evokes fear. When children live under fearful circumstances, it authomatically affects their coordination in all ramifications, spiritually, educationally and socially. The previous directive of the former IGP, meant that there should be the presence of armed police officers at every government schools.
A research carried out on the importance of engaging security agents in schools in the United State of America shows that, “Schools, as open systems, have been deeply affected by the economical, political and social conditions of our time, and have been exposed to many undesirable events and behaviours such as substance addiction, violence, child abuse, sabotage and the like. To tackle the security problems at schools, it is an asset to diagnose the problems at the first hand and then to search the system wide solutions.
“Based on the views of the teachers and managers, this research was done to determine the security problems experienced at schools; and to develop recommendations for tackling them. Three secondary schools, characterized with the most severe security problems, were taken into the research coverage; and 22 people were interviewed by asking open-ended questions. The data were analyzed by qualitative techniques. The obtained results revealed that there were various problem sources threatening school security; the school policies and decisions were insufficient; and the school support services were not sufficient and effective as well. Concomitant with the results. Some recommendations such as working collaboratively with the public and private institutions; developing emergency plans; training of the academic staff and the personnel were made.”
Security should be provided for students both in school and out of the school, this is why security agents have agreed that the job of security should not be left in the hands of only the security agencies but should be regarded as the responsibility of every citizen. So, everyone has the responsibility to help keep an eye on that child in the neighbourhood. Keep an eye on the child you see strolling or doing nothing along the street, such proactiveness can help in bettering the society. Interestingly, even the President knows the importance of children, apart from pleading with both traditional and religious leaders to assist by offering prayers to God. Many believe that the new resolve of the President to end every act of terrorism and other criminal activities was like a fighter gearing up to muster the last energy in him to enter the ring and engage his opponent with his very best to achieve victory. Indeed, any lasting victory over terrorist groups like bandits, Boko Haram and other foreign terrorist groups may bring back to memory when the National Security Adviser, retired General Babagana Monguno, who was quoted as saying that his office has designed a much better security plan on how to end insurgency and acts of terrorism, which had made insecurity to thrive in the country. It is such coordinated efforts of the NSA and all the security agencies when it yields the desired result that the masses are usually enveloped in a frenzy jubilation in appreciation of returning the country to its peaceful era. Like the release of three abducted kids recently. However, we should all bear in mind that we need to keep an eye on that child around us.
• When you notice that a child is stranded, try and ask him/her questions.
• Don’t send children on errands at night.
• Always keep an eye on the movements of your children .
• Ask relevant questions from your children about their friends and classmates.
• Don’t allow your child to go out of your house alone.
• Do not leave your child in the midst of other children whether at playing ground, social or religious functions.