Parents and guardians of the abducted schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina State, said they are disappointed with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Aminu Masari, who they say have failed to ensure security in the state.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the gunmen attacked a public school in Kankara and abducted 333 students, according to figures by the state governor, Mr Masari.
Residents said the militants came in large numbers on motorbikes and invaded the school’s premises around 11 p.m. on Friday night while shooting sporadically.
They, thereafter, abducted over 300 students from the school.
The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, while leading a federal government delegation on a sympathy visit, assured parents of the missing children that the students will be rescued soon.
However, many apprehensive parents who trooped to the school premise anticipating the release of their wards as promised by the government are lamenting that the government has failed in its mandate to protect the lives of its citizens.
A mother, Murjanatu Goma, from Danja local government, told PREMIUM TIMES that they are holding the government to their word that they would rescue the children soon, even though, days after, they are still waiting at the school premises.
Mrs Goma, said her son, Muhammad Ibrahim, was among those abducted.
“We have paid our dues to this administration because we are at the forefront during elections supporting them, I spent over N1,000 making phone calls to my Yoruba friends in Lagos, happily informing them about Buhari’s victory in the election.”
“Unfortunately, those people are now calling back and mocking me about insecurity and my support for the administration, which later resulted in the abduction of my child. Which is why I said we are disappointed with Buhari and Governor Masari’s administration,” Mrs Goma said.
She added that “since when my son was abducted, I have been paying N1,350 coming to Kankara from Danja hoping to be reunited with my son. I am pleading with the authorities to please secure the release of our children because we are having sleepless nights.”
‘We need them dead or alive’
Another mother, Binta Ketare-Maiwaina, said, “may Allah punish those responsible for the abduction of the innocent children.”
She added, “myself and my neighbours have eight missing children from the incident. Among them there is a ten-year-old, Usman Wada, I am just imagining the reason for the abduction of a minor who can’t even clean his clothes, his mother did everything for him.
“But because of the injustice of the government, they are yet to rescue the children, God is in control, they will all pay for their wrongdoing. We will never be satisfied until we are reunited with our children.
“We need them dead or alive, even in death so that we know their stand. We will give them a proper Islamic burial instead, but we cannot wait for the fake promises of the governments,” the grieving mother said
“Had it been I knew this is what would happen, I can’t go and vote for anyone. We explored all possibilities to ensure that we elected them, yet we are the victims of the system. We were cheated, we need to see our children,” she added.
Fa’iza Hamza, whose 16-year-old son, Usman Lawal-Tahir, was among the abducted schoolboys, said she was in Abuja attending a wedding of a relative when she received the unfortunate news of the abduction two hours after her son called her.
“He called me around 8:30 p.m. asking me to send foodstuff to him, I told him I was in Abuja but promised to do so whenever I returned to Kankara. However, around 10:00 p.m. the same day, I received another call from my sister Abule Hamza, informing me about the gunmen’s invasion of the school.
“I started crying hoping and praying that they would be safe. However, in the morning, I was told he was among those abducted in the school. We rushed back home with his father from Abuja and met many sympathisers at our house without a dead body.
“For four days, I can’t eat, even when my phone rings, I can’t even understand the person calling even when their names appear on the screen. I can’t explain the condition I have found myself ever since the incident happened,” Mrs Hamza said.
Also, Ishaya Mazadu, from Musawa local government area said, “I came here every day because the son of my younger brother is missing.”
“He is Mustapha Ibrahim. Ever since they were abducted, we have been coming here on a daily basis to witness the rescue of the children, however, they are yet to be released. I am calling on the government to urgently secure their release.
“Previously, we were hearing such stories of mass abduction of schoolchildren in faraway places but now it has reached our homes where the president comes from. Our leaders are always saying that things will be better but still we are still experiencing terrible things,” Mr Mazadu said.
How the gunmen came, left – gateman
One of the gatemen of the school also narrated to PREMIUM TIMES how the militants invaded the school and went away with the schoolboys.
The gateman, Garba Hassan, said, initially, around 10 p.m., the guards were waiting for the students to conclude their night prep so that they could close all the available doors. However, loud gunshots changed that plan.
He said “they came around 10:00 p.m. and opened fire on the gate. By then, we were three in number, including a police officer. The bullet hit the policeman in the neck. When I saw this, I ran to the assembly side and hid myself.
“The gunmen divided themselves into two, one part was exchanging fire with the vigilante and security agents outside the main gate while others were inside executing the abduction plan.
“They operated from 10 p.m. to 2:40 a.m. in the midnight. They came through the school’s main gate and left through the backyard’s mini door with the abducted students.
“While in hiding, I was looking at the gunmen struggling and abusing the students while pushing them to pass through the mini door from the rear mini door.
“I also heard when they were lamenting how one of them was hit by a bullet probably from vigilante or security agents and in the morning we saw bloodstains of the victim.”
Students leader speaks
Abdullahi Abdulhadi, the former president of the Kankara Students Union, said the reoccurring insecurity resulting in the kidnapping was because the children of the elites are secure somewhere, which left the communities vulnerable to gunmen without intelligence gathering.
Mr Abdulhadi said those elected officials got into power on the mandate of ensuring the security of lives and properties and also with the support from Nigerian students.
“But when they got into office, they forgot all that and the change agenda they campaigned on.
“They are not even feeling the abduction of the students because their sons and daughters are schooling abroad and none of them is among the abducted schoolboys.
“We’re appealing to the authorities to act and rescue the children, otherwise we will stand up and protect ourselves the way we deem fit.
“Those gunmen are hiding in the forest at Dajin ‘Yar Sinta’, Magami Gusau, Zango, Yan Malamai, Faskari rodama, Sabuwa. The security agents should go after them in the bushes, flying jets over the town is deceitful.”
Efforts to speak with the school’s principal was not successful, as he declined comments citing an order from above.
Also, the police spokesperson in Katsina, Gambo Isah, didn’t respond to calls to comment on whether the negligence of the security agents gave the kidnappers hours to operate without a challenge.
Governor Masari’s media aide, Audu Labaran, didn’t also respond to phone calls.