A group, Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria (CSWN), has said that it is deeply concerned that four school children and their teacher, who were forcefully abducted by armed men from their school in August, continue to be held in captivity.
The appeal was contained in a statement signed by its Press Officer, Reuben Buhari, who gave their names as Ezra Bako, 17; Miracle Saitu Danjuma, 15; Favour Danjuma, 10; Happiness Odoji, 16 and their teacher, Miss Christiana Madugu, 29, who were abducted on 24 August from Prince Academy School in Damba-Kasanya, Chikun Local Government Area (LGA), Kaduna State, as they had gathered there to write their Junior Secondary School (JSS) examinations.
The rural school, situated around 30 km east of Kaduna city, was attacked around 7: 30 am.
Gunmen rode into the village on motorcycles, shooting sporadically, and abducted the teacher and the four after killing a young man named Benjamin Auta whose house was close to the school.
“They also burnt down the community’s Baptist’s Church as they left the village,” the statement said.
The statement further said that it is dismayed that 39 days later, these young children – three girls, one boy – whose only crime was seeking to advance their education, are still being held along with their teacher by kidnappers who have allegedly refused to release them despite the payment of some ransom money by family members.
CSWN, therefore, called on the Nigerian authorities, and particularly the Kaduna State Government, to take urgent action to ensure the prompt release of these school children and their teacher, who have now been held in inhospitable conditions for over a month.
The Chief Operating Officer of CSWN, Rev. Yunusa Sabo Nmadu, commenting on the ongoing plight of the school children and their teacher said: “The fact that these children and their teacher have been held in inhumane conditions since August and despite payments by their families underlines the urgent need for the Kaduna state government and the security agencies to deploy all its resources and manpower to expedite their release.
“Their continuing captivity in such appalling circumstances is a sad indictment of the failure of the authorities to protect the most vulnerable in society.
“CSWN empathizes with the parents of the children and the teacher’s family, and we are praying for a swift end to their ordeal and to that of other families whose loved ones are in captivity as a result of the current levels of insecurity in the country.
“These abductions also underline the vital need for those in authority to create a safe educational environment for children in order to ensure the right to education for all, in line with Nigeria’s obligations under national, regional and international laws.”