March 12, 2024




Stories of Boko haram al-Qaeda and al-Shabab abducting kids are not new they were the dark scary parts of our childhoods, from news reports to Hollywood action movies we followed actors and security personnel in their narrations all trying to paint a picture of the horrific and traumatic stories of the mass kidnapping victims who are mostly women and small children. The question is always how does it happen over and over again? how is it that not one, not two but hundreds of children get kidnapped at once from an institution they are supposed to be learning from? Yes, unfortunately, the schools in northern Nigeria, the latest being two in Kaduna state, are being turned from a place of learning into cattle pens gathering children in one place to make it easier for their abductors to take them all at once.


15 more children were abducted days after more than 280 children were abducted in a school, in uniform all of them with backpacks, homework, and parents waiting for them at home. The temptation to be composed about this is quite strong I know, I mean not all of us are in Nigeria, and even if we are in Nigeria not all of us are in northern Nigeria right? And besides, it’s not the first time this has happened.


On Thursday 7th March 280 students were kidnapped by gunmen from their school at a secondary school in northern Nigeria a few days later we got the news that 15 pupils from a primary school were abducted by gunmen on motorcycles and a 14-year-old pupil was shot in the process and succumbed later on while receiving treatment


Horrifying as this news is I looked at the stats and I was petrified to learn that according to BBC News, this incident is not even the biggest mass abduction that has taken place in Nigeria “The Kaduna mass abduction has evoked memories of the nearly 300 girls in Nigeria’s north-eastern town of Chibok in 2014.” and just a few years back in July 2021 gunmen had kidnapped 150 students in the same region, in fact since 2014 a total of 1400 children have been abducted by armed bandits from schools. What does that number tell us if not that there is a disease an infection that is making adults drag children into conflict and it is not an epidemic in northern Nigeria it’s a pandemic that has infected the whole world, whether indirectly or directly this disease has made it impossible for Adults to acknowledge their responsibility towards children, to protect them from any kind of violence not to subject them to that same violence? To see a child and to see profit is the greatest symptom of this disease, one that I currently don’t have a cure for.


Abductions have become a profitable business since it’s a low-risk high-reward venture. Abductors In Northern Nigeria have ransomed children for money, weapons, food, and even petrol. That’s their means of sustenance traumatising children to get ransom. According to locals the lack of a military presence in the area is what led to this abduction whether it’s political or not I still wonder what this obsession adults have to constantly put children through conflict, is it the lack of knowledge on the kind of trauma it inflicts on these children or is it their own trauma that makes them ignore that. Imagine a child leaving home, their singular worry being whether or not they have finished homework only to end up worrying whether they are going to see their parents again is evidence enough that humanity is stained.

In a statement put out earlier in the week, the AU said: “…No child should have to choose between their education and their lives…” I agree with this sentiment completely yet Parents are forced to choose between their children’s futures and their lives. So reader let me ask you, if you are a parent in northern Nigeria would you take your child to school after all this? and if you are a child would you go to school?


Brian king


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