GOVERNMENT of the United Kingdom, through its minister for Africa James Duddridge, has criticised the continuous kidnapping of secondary schoolgirls in Nigeria, describing it as disgusting.
Duddridge, who is also a UK member of parliament (MP) for Rochford and Southend East, said every child was entitled to safe access to education.
“The abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria is abhorrent,” the lawmaker stated at the weekend.
Recall that on Friday, February 26, over 300 students at the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, were kidnapped in Zamfara State.
The kidnap incident has elicited public outcry and huge criticism against Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, especially as it relates to the state of insecurity in the country.
Prior to the most recent kidnap incident was the capturing of 42 persons, among whom were 27 students of Government Science College, Kagara in Niger State.
The students’ kidnap also occurred this month – February 17.
During the Kagara incident, a student was shot dead, according to Abdullberqy Ebbo, director-general of Strategic Operation, an official of the state government.
On December 20, 2020, 80 students of Islamiyya Schools at Mahuta town of Katsina State were also kidnapped few days to Christmas.
The students, mostly girls, were later rescued by the military alongside other four persons held by the bandits.
On December 11, about 344 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in the same Katsina State, were kidnapped
The students were later released to the state government after spending six days in captivity.
Buhari’s resignation demands
The series of abductions and other forms of insecurity in the country have become a growing concern for Nigerians.
Kidnapping for ransom also appears to have become the new trend following recent insecurity incidents across the country.
As a result, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) consisting of over 40 non-governmental organisations asked Buhari to resign if he could not find a sustainable solution to the deteriorating security situation.
“Where the president fails to fulfil his constitutional duties as stated above, we demand he steps aside or the National Assembly initiate impeachment proceedings against him on grounds of gross misconduct as provided for in Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the group demanded.
Last year December, a group of leaders under the aegis of Northern Elders Forum (NEF) also told the president to resign from office due to state of insecurity in Nigeria.
“Under this administration, life has lost its value, and more and more citizens are coming under the influence of criminals. We do not see any evidence of willingness on the part of President Buhari to honour his oath to provide security over Nigerians. In civilised nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign,” NEF said in a statement issued by Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, director, publicity and advocacy.
Calls for Referendum
Meanwhile, some concerned Nigerians have challenged the UK government to intervene in Nigeria’s crisis.
Others have called for the disintegration of the country as the current security situation is unsustainable.
“Directly or indirectly UK is part of Nigeria’s problems. If you have conscience and feelings allow #Referendum in Nigeria. Stop this one Nigeria thing…,” Ifeanyi @ohakwegifeanyi stated.
Chris Ejimofor @chrisejimofor1 said the country was on the verge of collapse, thus called for peaceful disintegration.
“This useless amalgamation has expired because the country is on the verge. Calamity is underway if a peaceful division is not done now to save souls,” he tweeted.
Nnamdi @afamdi247 also shared a similar position.
“Uk divide Nigeria let everybody go their separate ways. UK divide Nigeria let everybody go their separate ways,” he stated.
Cosmas Chimezie, in his opinion, called for a referendum.
“End Nigeria now to save lives. People are dying every day. A referendum is the only solution.”
Last year October, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) called for a referendum. Secretary-General of the forum, Murtala Aliyu, while reacting to the contentious issue of restructuring, said the north was in support of a referendum.
“We can restructure. We can become a confederation. We can devolve powers. We can have state police and all that we want. But I can tell you the thinking of the North now is that we should have a referendum if we want Nigeria or not,” he reportedly stated.
“Ohaeneze welcomes the idea of a referendum. This is what Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been calling for – a referendum for the aggregating geopolitical zones or the people to decide whether to still remain in the present unwieldy marriage of convenience or go their separate ways, John Nwodo, former head of Ohaneze Ndigbo, remarked while adding his voice recently.
Ladi Williams, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, also supported the proposal.
His words: “This (proposal for a referendum) is fantastic. In my humble view, the North is being sensible for the first time. Britain, which foisted the current arrangement on us, is even talking about Scotland seeking to go.
“Referendum and everyone working on his own, it means each man will govern himself. All these complaints of nepotism and ethnicity will not be there, that people from a particular zone in the country are being put in total charge of the security and so on. For me, I have always said if the entire military leadership is from a village, I won’t have a problem with it, as long as they can govern well and do the job very well. But it must also be noted that no village has the monopoly of competent people.
“We can now have healthy competition. We should have the referendum, conducted by United Nations and African Union, to avoid the situation of some people claiming it has been rigged from the beginning.
“The proposal is fantastic. Nobody will say he is a second-class citizen again because an Egba man would now be dealing with an Ekiti man. They are both Yoruba. The problem will now be how to manage the minority questions in each area.”
In 2016, the Niger Delta Avengers group also called for a referendum, asking the president to consider the idea.