Ibironke Adeagbo, a Nigerian health and safety ambassador, has expressed fears about the safety of Nigeria’s 5.2 million students in 13,029 institutions nationwide as schools in the country resume for a new academic year.
Records show that 1.4 million of the students are in the Nigerian northwest, the hotbed of persistent abductions that have resulted in the deaths of many people, including students.
According to Statisense, a Nigerian data company, more than 3,000 people have been kidnapped in the country since January this year with 1,344 of the abductions occurring in June alone.
Ms Adeagbo was reacting to the dispersal of students sitting for the ongoing West African School Certificate Examinations in a community in Imo in the Igbo heartland.
In a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, the former director of the British Safety Council described the security crisis as disturbing, one that had continued to force more children in Nigeria out of school.
She said, “Government needs to declare a state of emergency in the education sector in the face of the crisis arising from abductions of helpless citizens, especially women and children and the time to act is now.”
Ms Adeagbo, who is also the chief executive officer of UK charity, IA-Foundation, asked Nigeria’s government to seek external assistance, especially from Europe and the U.S. to tackle the issue of banditry.
“My submission is that the government should use technology to tackle the prevailing problem and ensure that children in schools are no longer kidnapped because the mental torture will linger in the life of any child who falls victim.
“It is unimaginable that a child in this day and age will go to school to seek knowledge and end up in kidnappers’ den and suffer life-changing experiences that can destroy the future of any child forever,” the envoy said.