More than 1,000 Nigerian students have reportedly been kidnapped for ransom by criminal groups in the country’s northwest and central areas since December 2020, according to UNICEF. The country is becoming a no-place for children because kidnapping has become a business, and parents are pulling their children out of school. For instance, some schoolchildren who had been taken from an Islamic seminary three months prior returned in a van on August 27, 2021, as they were finally freed from their armed captors from their hiding places in the forest to reconnect with their parents in Minna.
As a result of the widespread issue of kidnappings in northern Nigeria, many parents have expressed their preference for having their children quit school rather than risk having them taken by bandits. Because of the ongoing insurgency, about 11,000 schools across seven states in Northern Nigeria have been forced to close their doors over the course of the past several years, and approximately 1000 of those schools have been completely destroyed or suffered significant damage. At the same time, more students have been kidnapped.
The fear of being kidnapped made everybody flee for their life.
Girls, on the other hand, are the most vulnerable to this attack. A girl named Hausa’u Salisu, who is only 14 years old and from the northern part of Nigeria, has also decided to quit school after her parents told her to no longer attend school. Salisu disclosed to DW News that before the involvement of the bandit, they had normal lives similar to any other person. Even before attacking them, the kidnappers struck the nearby villages. They had to leave their schools and haven’t been able to go back since being displaced. Teachers have also fled the school out of concern for their own safety.
Furthermore, in her hometown of Bakon Zabo, where she was raised, thousands of young girls like her live in constant terror of being kidnapped if they attend school. Her dream of becoming a medical doctor has been dashed to pieces due to the ongoing assaults. In addition, all of her acquaintances and classmates have been dislocated and are currently living in different cities, towns, and villages. She went on to say that some were killed while others were being held hostage by the bandits.
2014 Chibok adoption rocked the nation to its very foundation.
In Nigeria, kidnapping is a recurring concern. However, the kidnapping of more than 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014 by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant organisation, rocked the nation to its very foundation. Only 57 of these schoolgirls were able to get away, and it is unknown what happened to the other victims. It wasn’t until 2016 that the first victim was discovered. By 2022, eight years after the catastrophe, the Nigerian military located two of the Boko Haram victims.
The BBC reports that the two hostages had given birth while they were being held captive since they were found with two children, while it’s thought that other victims were pressured into marrying their captors and converting to Islam under threat of death. The abduction of the schoolgirls from Chibok was not an end to the problem; instead, it was a component of a more widespread issue in Nigeria. In February 2021, the Northern state of Zamfara saw the abduction of over 200 young women.
Abduction in Nigeria is now more profitable than the oil business – Yehusa.
Moreover, abducting appears to be a lucrative business in the country, and the abductor’s motivations likely include spreading fear and making a profit. According to a kidnap ransom negotiator Yehusa Getso, who spoke with DW News, abduction in Nigeria is now more profitable than the oil business. Its reach grows wider every day. It doesn’t matter to them who you are. One’s familial background is irrelevant to them. They don’t care if you are rich or poor, he added. The government hasn’t done much to counter the jihadist insurgency and keep innocent people safe.