80 Students Abducted In Nigeria

The Nigerian state, Kebbi, has faced safety concerns and security restlessness in the past few weeks due to the kidnapping of 80 students and five teachers from a local school. Armed men raided a school in the town of Birnin Yauri, which is located in the Northwestern portion of Nigeria. The so-called “bandits” attacked the school and kidnapped its students in hopes of collecting a ransom. One police officer was killed during the attack. The gang is now in hiding with hostages, and local authorities are ramping up their efforts in hopes of locating the victims.

A schoolteacher, Usman Aliyu, was a witness of the event and he said that “they killed one of the [police officers], broke through the gate and went straight to the students’ classes.” The horrendous attack not only left students abducted, but was also accompanied by vandalism of personal property and theft of assets that the bandits laid their eyes on.

Police officers are now looking at nearby forests, which is an expected location of where the bandits could be hiding. Parents have come to the school looking for their children and a huge state of panic and uncertainty erupted. The group likely did not kidnap the students for no other reason than the sole purpose of collecting money before releasing them. Such groups are not new to Nigeria, and they have in fact become a sadly common reality in the past few months.

Since December, 700 students were kidnapped. Those kidnaps pose a serious security threat to Nigeria and approaching them can be challenging. From the 700 students that were abducted, some were freed, while others were not. Estimates of upwards of $18 million were paid by authorities and families to free abductees (from 2011 to 2020). However, it is important to consider if paying a ransom is the best way to approach this issue or not. It is easy for one to say that the best thing to do is not to pay money, because it is fueling such activities, but this is not always accurate, especially when the person being kidnapped is a child or a loved one. One can simply put themselves in the shoes of the parents and assess accordingly how that situation would feel. Hence, a real immediate approach to this issue could be challenging and no instant “best” answer is attainable.

Nigeria needs to find a solution that hits the root of the matter. What is causing those people to kidnap in the first place and why are they in need of money? Reports claim that their purposes are mainly economic, and that they have increased their activities after climate change affected their livestock and means of living. If efforts ramp up to solidify the economy and provide a viable working atmosphere, then there could be an elimination of kidnappings and a creation of a safe environment.