A children’s book author, Mr Anote Ajeluorou, has lamented the increasing rate of school children abduction in northern states like Niger, Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna, stating that the ugly trend needed to be halted at once, so as not to truncate the education of the Nigerian child. He specifically blamed the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for the woeful state of affairs in the country, arguing that never before in Nigeria’s history did things degenerate to this sorry state. He therefore urged the federal government to begin to act responsibly towards those it swore to defend and protect.
Mr Ajeluorou, who is the author of acclaimed children’s book, Igho Goes to Farm, said while reacting to the spate of kidnappings of school children in Jengebe, Kankara, and Kangara in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger and Kaduna states that the sad situation was capable of worsening the out-of-school children scenario plaguing the north by adding to the already large numbers put at over 13 million. The kidnappings, which he characterised, as the fundraising ploy of Boko Haram in its avowed hatred of Western education, would further worsen school enrolment as parents and their children would no longer be eager to enroll in schools since safe in schools has become problematic.
The author, whose coming novella, ‘Brides of the Infidels’ that chronicles the torrid lives of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram and taken into the terrorists’ den and the trauma these girls are made to undergo, urged the respective state governments concerned to urgently begin deploying drone technology in schools to forestall the trend before the damage becomes too grave to remedy. Specifically, Mr Ajeluorou expressed sadness that the Buhari administration has failed woefully in tackling the numerous security challenges plaguing the country for which kidnapping of school children has assumed an alarming proportion, with state governments paying ransom to secure abducted school children that further fuels appetite for more kidnapping.
Ajeluorou, who is also a journalist, chastised the entire northern elite, political and otherwise, saying they should cover their faces in shame for failing the Nigerian child in virtually all aspects of human development indices and decent behaviour. He said that while the north under Buhari has seized all levers of federal economic power by heading all money-generating MDAs in what he described as Buhari’s clannishness in privileging his Fulani ethnic stock over others, saying it was disheartening that this humongous economic advantage of northern elite has failed to translate to a better northern society. Instead, he said, the north is reeling under the worst economic and security challenges while bequeathing the worst form of criminal and terrorism behaviour to the rest of the country and further dragging Nigeria backwards.
The Igho Goes to Farm author noted that in the north, crimes against children have become so rampant that a time would come when every political leader in the region would be dragged to the International Criminal Court at The Hague to answer for their roles in devaluing the Nigerian child. He pointed out that either it is the crime of girl-child early marriage or the notoriously degrading almajirai system that renders a generation of children useless for life and child-herders, which both help fuel millions of out-of-school children, or Boko Haram that uses children as child soldiers and suicide bombers or the recent phenomenon of kidnapping of school children for ransom. The author has therefore called for the immediate and total ban of the Islamic almajirai system, saying it has become a breeding ground for criminal elements, as it does not equip its pupil for the requisite skills for modern living. The result of such gap, he said, is a ready army of uneducated youths that tend dangerously towards criminality and terrorism.
Mr Ajeluorou further lamented that the only reward Nigerians could get from President Buhari administration for electing to power is inflicting severe economic and security on them. He said whatever gains previous administrations made to better the lot of the Nigerian child had been frittered away by Buhari, and advised the president to use the remaining two and a half years of his government to redeem himself otherwise history would judge him harshly on how he negatively impacted the Nigerian child with his style of governance that leaves much to be desired.