Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The minister of state for Power, Mohammed Wakil, has called for increased protection for soft targets, such as schools and hospitals, in the wake of last Tuesday’s attack on Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, where over a hundred girls were abducted.
In a statement on Sunday, Wakil condemned the increasing assaults on innocent students as inhuman and unislamic, saying that the dangerous trend must not be allowed to repeat itself.
“We must now pay close attention to schools, hospitals and other soft targets. As the insurgents are now avoiding well defended hard targets, we should design new approach to securing identified soft targets,” he said.
Of the 113 students abducted, 30 escaped last week and have been reunited with their families.
The minister said there must be concerted efforts to secure the release of remaining female students.
Wakil said an alarm and warning system should be put in place in all likely soft targets across the conflict areas that will trigger early responses and nip in the bud planned attacks as was the case of the foiled plans to attack the NNPC mega stations on Damboa -Biu Road.
In a related development, the chairman of the Victims of Child Abuse Foundation, VCAF, Tajudeen Akanji, has warned that the abduction of school girls could discourage parents from embracing girl-child education.
Akanji said the idea of invading schools and causing havoc on the lives of promising future leaders of Nigeria violate international humanitarian law.
“Such brutal act of violence is unacceptable. Attacks on schools deny children their right to learn in a safe environment. This act is capable of discouraging girls-child education in the country,” he warned.
He added: “It is our belief that schools are exceptionally different from every other public place and must be provided with adequate security so as to remain safe for learning and building a promising future for the nation.”