Inside Kaduna Insecurity: How Over 170 Students Were Kidnapped

 Inside Kaduna Insecurity: How Over 170 Students Were Kidnapped

With an estimated population of 7.7 million people, Kaduna state is one of the northern region states that battles increasing insecurity challenges in Nigeria.

These insecurity challenges range from farmer-herder conflict, kidnapping school children for ransom, and criminal activities by militant groups – all of which have led to multiple deaths, displacement of residents, destruction of properties, and threat to survival.

In response to assisting Kaduna’s security system, the Nigerian government established a special Joint Military Task Force under the mandate of Operation Accord but this has not reduced insecurity in the state.

Speaking at the 2020 Annual Security Report in Kaduna, the governor, Nasir El-rufai lamented on the failed cooperation of the northern states in combating banditry within the region.

He said, “it is sobering reading because it is a factual account of a challenging situation. It reflects the pains of individuals, families, and communities, buffeted by the brutal antics of criminals and outlaws. And it explains the measures being undertaken by the Kaduna State Government to manage these tough times in the security sector with the support of our military, police, para-military, and other security agencies.

“As observed by the commissioner, these are official and recorded statistics, and it is quite possible that more unreported crimes may have been committed in the state.

“As we accept this report, we pray for the repose of the souls of those killed, pay tribute to the victims of various crimes, reiterate our solidarity with them, reaffirm our resolve to continue to protect our people, and stop the criminals.

“The victims of these outlaws cut across our state, even if certain narratives have tried to disguise sheer criminality in ethno-religious or regional hues, depending on the identity of the victims,” he added.

199 Students Kidnapped In Kaduna

On March 11, at least 39 students were kidnapped in Mando Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation.

The gunmen were reported to have stormed the school at 9.30 pm, shooting indiscriminately before taking students.

The Kaduna college, as at kidnap, had about 300 male and female students. However, after a military intervention, 180 people were rescued with 39 students unaccounted for – 23 females and 16 males.

However, on March 13, a viral video where the students were seen crying and appealing to the government to pay the N500 million demanded by the bandits as a ransom for their release.

Almost two months after their kidnapping, the students were released by the bandits.

Armed bandits also stormed the Greenfield University on April 20 kidnapping at least 20 students and 2 staff in Kasarami village, Chikun LGA, Kaduna State.

This came five weeks and six days after the Afaka kidnapping. 

The kidnap was reported to have occurred at 8:15 pm with the bandits demanding ₦800 million as a ransom for their release.

While 5 of the students were killed, 1 of the students was later released after the parents paid an undisclosed ransom to the bandits and the remaining 14 students were released on 29th May 2021 after 40 days in captivity.

In July 2021, about 140 students were kidnapped from Bethel Baptist high school, Kaduna state, after bandits overpowered the security staff.

A teacher at the school told reporters that the bandits took about 165 students, but 25 managed to escape. The rest were carted away by unidentified gunmen popularly known as bandits.

El-Rufai has however said his government is working out a homegrown solution toward tackling the spate of banditry in his state.

He said his government was in consultation with critical stakeholders in the state to come out with a permanent solution to the insecurity bedeviling his state adding that he was in contact with the traditional institutions, community, and religious leaders toward ensuring that normalcy returns to the state.

“We must express our appreciation to the federal government and security agencies for giving us their best in containing the security challenges.

“However, as part of complementing the effort of the federal government, we are also working on homegrown solutions.

“We are bringing all critical stakeholders toward working out a permanent solution to the present security challenges”, he said.

Kehinde Ogunyale

Freelance Investigative and Data Journalist

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