14 of students abducted in Kogi varsity regain freedom

THE Kogi State Police Command has confirmed the release of 14 of the abducted students of the Confluence University of Science and Technology, Osara, Okene, from their captors.

The students who were reading in the school halls in the night for their upcoming examination were abducted on Thursday, May 9.

Confirming the development on Sunday, May 12, the state police public relations officer, William Aya, was quoted by The Punch as saying, “So far, 14 of them have been rescued, Our men are in the bush trying to find the rest.”

The bandits reportedly entered from the surrounding bush, entered three lecture halls, and fired shots into the air to intimidate the students.

In a statement released on Sunday, May 12 by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, said the state government announced the rescue of some of the students without disclosing the exact number of rescued students.

The government credited the successful operation to the display of force by security forces and local vigilantes against the kidnappers.

The statement read, “This is to inform the general public that some of the students abducted by gunmen at the Confluence University of Science and Technology, Osara, have been rescued safely by local hunters and other security agents.

“Local vigilante men and security agents engaged the kidnappers in a fierce shootout and the kidnappers succumbed to superior firepower and escaped with gun wounds, leaving the kidnapped students who also ran in different directions to avoid being caught up in the fire exchange.”

The commissioner disclosed that the students kidnapped, including other people in captivity, had been rescued and taken to medical facilities for proper attention.

He noted that “in the sporadic gun battle to rescue our dear students, a local hunter and a DSS operative sustained injuries and they are currently receiving medical attention.”

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The state Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo had earlier assured the safe return of the students, adding that the government had “activated the security architecture to track the kidnappers and ensure the abducted students are rescued and the abductors apprehended.”

Abduction of students has become a source of concern in Nigeria, where the number of out-of-school children is very high.

In 2023, The ICIR reported that Nigeria had 19.7 million out-of-school children and was the country globally with the third highest number of children deprived of education according to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2020 Model Estimates.

On Thursday, March 7, 137 students and their principal were reportedly abducted by terrorists from the LEA Primary School in Kuriga, a community within the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The incident generated public outcry, with several leaders, including President Bola Tinubu, calling for their immediate release.

Abduction of schoolchildren became common in Nigeria, especially in the North, after nearly 300 students were abducted by terrorists from a school in Chibok, Borno State, in 2014.




     

     

    Findings by The ICIR show that bandits and terrorist groups have disrupted the Nigerian education system, kidnapping over 1,000 students in the last decade.

    Within the past three administrations, the abduction of school children has generated millions in ransom for kidnappers, leaving citizens with no hope of a possible end to the menace.

    Student abduction occurs in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

    Among the tertiary institutions where students have been whisked away are Federal University Dutsin Ma, Katsina State, in 2023; Federal University, Gusau, in Zamfara State, in 2022, and the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, in 2021.

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    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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