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Rethinking security in FCT

Two kidnappings, all targeted at educational institutions, in a space of one week in Nigeria’s federal capital should be source of concern to those in authority.

This is not as if there are exceptions to the near-daily abductions across the Federal Capital Territory. Area councils such as Kuje, Kwali, Abaji and Bwari have become hotbeds of criminalities with the lucrative venture of kidnapping for ransom seemingly intractable.

However, the October 26, 2021 and November 1 kidnappings targeting Government Secondary School, Yebu in Kwali area council and that of the University of Abuja send dangerous signals that the terrorists are not letting up and new counter measures should be in place to address this threat to educational pursuit.

In the Yebu abduction, it was reported that ten heavily armed gunmen stormed the school premises and went away with the vice principal, academics, of the Junior Secondary School section, Malam Nuhu Mohammed.

The 52-year old school head was abducted alongside an 18-year old son of another staff of the school, Master Clement Paul Egbeji.

Police sources were quoted as saying that the attackers gained easy access into the school premises due to the absence of perimeter fencing and poor telecommunication network in the area which prevented the residents of the staff quarters from promptly contacting the police.

A similar incident it was alleged happened at a school in neighboring Gwagwalada Area Council, where another student was abducted leading to the cancelation of the official flag off of the construction of Kasce feeder road in Gwagwalada by the Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu.

In the UniAbuja abduction, six people were kidnapped – Professor Obansa Joseph, and his two children, as well as others.

Like in the Yebu incident, the fencing in the Giri quarters of the tertiary institution is abysmally poor, the area is network challenged and security is at best poor.

Though the FCT Administration had earlier this year assured parents of the safety of students in schools across the territory, it seems it is all talk and no action.

The Acting Director, Administration and Finance of the Education Secretariat, Malam Abdulrazaq Leramoh, had at a strategic school security meeting in March, tagged ‘School Security Guidelines Watch,’ said stringent measures have been put in place to secure the schools.

He said reports of kidnapping of students from schools in some neighboring states necessitated the intensification of efforts to secure schools by being proactive and putting in place practical measures to avert such incident in the FCT.

But from all indications, counting the number of abductions in schools indicate that nothing much has been achieved in that regard.

It is unthinkable that with all the headquarters of the security agencies domiciled in the FCT as well as complimentary secret police of foreign missions in the capital territory, the administration cannot come up with a working solution.

Owing to the dire implications of school abductions especially in the rural areas, there is the need for the upscaling of infrastructure round these far-flung schools, as well as the deployment of technology to forestall the ugly incident.

To fail to do so is to contribute to the number of out-of-school children and the long-term social and economic consequences.

While the challenge of funding remains a major bottleneck, the administration’s commitment to safeguarding the schools could see it getting grants in this direction.

It should engage more with the security agencies and urge them on synergy especially as regards information sharing.

While it is commendable that the university lecturers and their abducted family members were rescued and the culprits arrested after a few days, the matter of the Yebu kidnapping remains unresolved and should be done to demonstrate that all lives matter.

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