Irked by the latest abduction of some 200 children from an informal Islamic school, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari directed security and intelligence agencies to expedite efforts to rescue the children.
Gunmen kidnapped the children from an Islamic school in Tegina town in Niger state, North Central Nigeria on Sunday.
The Niger State government could not confirm the actual number of kidnapped children but more than 200 students were at the school at the time the bandits struck.
Mr Adamu Usman, the Niger state Commissioner of Police, said the children were abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamiya School at about 3pm and one person was killed when a large number of bandits on motorcycles attacked the town.
The abduction of children and students for ransom has become a trend among terror groups in Nigeria, particularly in North Central, North West and North East.
Boko Haram’s abduction of 276 female students of the Government Science Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state on April 14, 2014 opened the floodgate of abduction for ransom.
Recent incidents include the kidnap of almost 300 schoolgirls in February in Jangebe, Zamfara, and abduction of 270 children in Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari.
More than 1,300 children and students have been kidnapped for ransom since December 2020 in Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, Kaduna, Borno and Sokoto states.
Most of them have, however, been rescued after ransoms were paid to the abductors, mostly bandits and Boko Haram insurgents.
President Buhari has described as unfortunate the latest incident and urged all agencies involved in the rescue operation to do their best to secure the children’s release.
He also directed government agencies to extend support to the families of the kidnapped children.
The President on May 27, at the celebration of the Children’s Day, promised to bequeath a better country for the present and future generations. He said children were precious blessings.