World’s most dangerous place to go to school: More than 1,000 students abducted in Nigeria this year

An estimated 70 students along with teachers were abducted in Kebbi state, northern Nigeria, from the Federal Government College on Thursday, June 17. Eyewitnesses say roughly 100 gunmen stormed the school and began shooting, killing one security officer, and injuring students. 

It was another mass school kidnapping in Nigeria that brought the total number of students kidnapped in the last several months to as high as one thousand. Just last week, ten people were adducted from the main campus of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic in Zaria, Kaduna state. 

More than 80 students kidnapped from Nigeria school 
More than 80 students kidnapped from Nigeria school

The latest brazen attack happened in broad daylight even though the school is surrounded by high fences with barbed wire and has over 20 armed security personnel on-site, according to local reports.

Even worse, the kidnappers had been “surrounding” or “staging” outside the school for over a week with little to no incident before striking. 

Bandits stocked the school for over a week before over-powering guards and storming the grounds, kidnapping somewhere around 100 people, including children and teachers. 
Bandits stocked the school for over a week before over-powering guards and storming the grounds, kidnapping somewhere around 100 people, including children and teachers.

The Kebbi State Police announced yesterday that the rescue operation is still ongoing and there is no information about exactly how many have been kidnapped and their wellbeing, pushing new calls for the Nigerian government to declare a state of emergency. 

The Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram has been known for kidnapping school children in Nigeria for profit, staging large-scale crimes, retreating to their base camps which have continued to strengthen with each successful crime. Boko Haram and associated groups and bandits hate the West, hate modern society, but they also hate their people, willing to take arms against their own people for money and drugs. 

If Boko Haram has been able to operate for decades how serious are leaders, officials, and the Nigerian administration about removing them and stopping them from committing crimes? Stopping children from being educated, burning farmlands, and stealing property and food from hard-working citizens already pressed on everything from health care to shelter to clean water? 

In a US Nigerian Cooperation Fact Sheet published by the U.S. Department of State in May of 2021, the U.S. provided $7.1 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) between 2016 and 2020. They also provided $1.1 million to support instructor and/or curriculum development at Nigerian military schools, $1.3 million in Foreign Military Financing to support maritime security and counterterrorism efforts, and $9.3 million worth of training, equipment, and advisory support for counterterrorism efforts. 

Most recently Nigeria completed the sale of 12 U.S. A-29 Super Tucano aircraft worth $497 million to support Nigerian military operations against Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa and counter illicit trafficking in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. 

Calls for the Nigerian President, Buhari to declare a state of emergency intensify after more than 1,000 students have suffered through the trauma of being kidnapped this year, amidst violent protests, Twitter bans, food insecurity, joblessness, and piracy - the problems are mounting fast. 
Calls for the Nigerian President, Buhari to declare a state of emergency intensify after more than 1,000 students have suffered through the trauma of being kidnapped this year, amidst violent protests, Twitter bans, food insecurity, joblessness, and piracy – the problems are mounting fast.

The statistics above are only a small reporting on military dollars provided to the current Nigeria administration by partner countries, not including Russia, China, India, France, Germany, and other countries with a vested interest. Where has the funding gone? Has it been invested well? Will it lead to a secure, safe, and fair country that values education, feeding its population, and raising the floor on poverty each year? 

Today News Africa will follow the current events on the kidnappings at the Federal Government College in Kebbi state and update this post. 

Kristi Pelzel is a Senior White House correspondent for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Kristi also covers the US Department of State and the United Nations. She holds a master's degree from Georgetown University.

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