Without boundaries, nothing is sacred. I could repeat this simple sentence throughout this piece in the hope that it would sink and I would have passed a cogent message across, but I would be breaking a basic essay rule if I did so. However, the unsettling news concerning the incessant spate of kidnapping, especially in secondary schools domiciled in the northern part of the country is not only worrisome, but also a clear case of playing Russian Roulette with the lives of those who form a part of the most vulnerable in our society—our children.
It’s not okay to have the lives of adults threatened in any way. But you see, when we cannot protect our children; when those who did not ask to be born and who look up to us for their survival and protection are denied this basic right, then we have a real problem on our hands.
Within the last two weeks, hundreds of school kids were grabbed from their citadels of learning and whisked off to unknown locations by terrorists. It’s a script that has been played repeatedly after the first one involving the Chibok girls in 2014 proved to be a meal ticket. And these days, the threat has made its incursion in the middle belt; it is no longer an exclusive preserve of the core north. The Kagara school children abduction has made certain of that.
And while it is a relief that most of these kids have been found, the situation is far from Uhuru. From Chibok to Kagara to Jengebe, many students have not only been abducted from their boarding facility, but some have also lost their lives in the process, while others remain missing persons.
No society that plans to thrive allows this to happen.
It is unacceptable anywhere in the world to not have or develop the capacity to preserve the lives of those on whose existence the perpetuation of the human race depends.
A group of people are playing a dangerous game. One that has the propensity to cause an implosion and Nigeria is folding her arms and allowing them to get away with it. What’s more, they are rewarded in cash and kind when they “repent” from their iniquities. If that doesn’t spell doom, I don’t know what does.
For one, it’s inconceivable to think that up till now, we still have schools operating a live-in system despite the security challenges in the north when it’s apparent that staff and students are endangered species. Why can’t all schools run a day system until such a time when security measures are put in place to guarantee the safety of students who opt for the boarding system?
What’s even more puzzling is how parents are comfortable leaving their kids by themselves despite this problem.
Boko Haram and their ilk have breached the boundary of conscience and fair play time and again with their modus operandi. Children are clearly not out of bounds in the perpetration of their heinous acts. In fact, the abduction and return of students have ballooned into a kidnap for ransom game which has evolved into a lucrative trade.
Yet, the government mollycoddles these sons of the devil instead of dealing with them decisively.
If this persists, what we will witness is the continued proliferation of this model of kidnapping with attendant devastating consequences.
The barely 10-day period between the Kangara and Jengebe incidents is a pointer to the calculated execution of the abductions. And beyond the heartache and psychological effect of the occurrence, the school calendar is disrupted, putting students in this region at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in other regions of the country.
We must not wait until the ugly trend morphs into a hydra-headed monster that consumes us all. The government must do more than pay lip service or “condemn” the attacks. If school kids cannot learn in a conducive and safe space, we really do not have a country.
Without boundaries, nothing is sacred.