Tinubu orders immediate rescue of abducted Zamfara students

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu has ordered security operatives to immediately rescue students of the Federal University, Gusau, in Zamfara state, who were abducted in the early hours of Friday, Sept. 22.

This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Ajuri Ngelale on Sunday, Sept. 24.

“There is no moral justification for such heinous crimes against innocent victims whose only ‘offence’ was their pursuit of quality education,” the statement read.

Tinubu condoled the families of the affected students and assured them that no effort would be spared in securing their release.

He also noted that his government was determined to ensure the safety of educational institutions and rid them of terrorists.

Over 25 students, mostly female, were abducted from the Federal University, Gusau, during the attack. Six of the affected students were rescued by officials of the Nigerian Army, leaving more than 20 others still in captivity.

Sources within the school told The ICIR that the terrorists had earlier threatened to kidnap more than 100 people from the institution.

“They vowed that they would abduct 100, kill 30, and the government would pay ransoms for 70. Now they have started their mission and went with 24, they are still coming back to abduct the remaining 76 if care is not taken,” a school student, Mubarak (surname withheld), told The ICIR.

He also disclosed that while this was not the first kidnap incident recorded in the school, the current cases had affected more students than before.

On Friday, June 16, terrorists abducted five students from the institution. The incident led to protests by school students, who blocked major roads, leaving many motorists stranded for hours.

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Other educational institutions in the state have also been affected by kidnap incidents, including the Zamfara State College of Health Technology, Tsafe, from which about five female students were abducted in April 2022.



    In 2021, nearly 300 female students were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Jengebe, a community in the state.

    In northern Nigeria, especially states like Zamfara, where kidnapping of students is common, many families are discouraged from sending their children or wards to school for fear of losing them to terrorists.

    This further worsens the literacy crisis in Nigeria, where about 20 million children are out of school, according to data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

    On Sunday, September 24, The ICIR reported that over 7.5 million girls were out of school.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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