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Terrorism, Kidnapping Spreading Into Nigerian Universities

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In the space of only a few days, two Nigerian universities experienced terrorism at its worst. In an unprecedented event, terrorists invaded a private university, Greenfield University in Kaduna State and abducted yet to be confirmed number of students, making ransom demands of N800 million for their release. As if not enough, another terrorist kidnap took place, this time in a Federal Government owned university, Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi, Benue State. This time, three students were abducted. Reports in the last few days indicate that five of the students kidnapped from Greenfield University were killed by their abductors, with the said abductors stating that they would keep killing the hostages if the ransom is not paid. Across the country, multiple stories of kidnappings, killings and general insecurity prevail. It would appear that the entire country may have slipped into what is generally regarded as ‘ungoverned spaces.’

The Nigerian security forces are stretched across the entire direction of the country, confronting all manners of insecurity. Apparently, beaten and overwhelmed. At the political level, the government appears to have given up with nothing more than empty threats and press statements issued from the Presidential Villa. The universities are not the only centres of education that have been attacked by terrorists and bandits. The universities are just an escalation of what began as attacks on secondary schools, particularly in the Northern part of the country. The Chibok Government Girls’ Secondary School attacked in April 2014 by Boko Haram terrorists set the first example. Since then, many more educational institutions have been victims. The secondary school in Dapchi, schools in Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara States have been targeted. It would appear that the literal interpretation of Boko Haram (Book is forbidden) is an agenda now set to be accomplished by bandits and terrorists. Only last week, the Federal Government supported by international donors had held a conference to drum up support for a government initiative seeking to promote safety in schools. Nigeria has one of the highest out of school children populations in the world, with statistics showing 10.1 million children out of school. With the rate of attacks on schools by bandits and terrorists and the government completely overwhelmed and incapable of providing security for schools, it will only be a matter of time before the country begins to see rapid deterioration in school attendance numbers. Evidently, the government not only lacks the capacity but has shown incredible incompetence in handling the matter.