By Salim Yunusa
The Kaduna State Government has suspended the resumption of schools across local governments of the state until further notice.
Addressing a stakeholders’ meeting on Monday, Governor Nasir El-Rufai explained that the government took the decision due to the ongoing aggressive military operation against bandits in most parts of the state.
He informed the meeting attended by members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), as well as professional and community-based associations that the operation was aimed at flushing the bandits out from their hideouts.
Governor El-Rufai added that the government was committed to protecting vulnerable children from being attacked by fleeing bandits who were already feeling the superior firepower of the military.
He revealed that the military has deployed more troops to the state for the operation and warned the residents to be vigilant and mindful of unknown faces in their midst, saying fleeing bandits might infiltrate their communities.
In his remarks, NMA Chairman in Kaduna, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, asked the Federal Government to licence the use of firearms for profiled citizens.
He stated that this was necessary to enable the people to protect themselves from being attacked by bandits since the security forces cannot be everywhere.
Sokomba believes licensing of firearms for citizens has become expedient due to the constant kidnapping of many people, including health workers.
A gender-based activist, Asma Mirza, who was also present at the meeting, stressed the need to deploy technology to the various flashpoints, including the forests and highways.
Kidnapping and banditry have become fast-growing organised crimes in Kaduna and some parts of the north-west region – posing a major security threat for the people.
Hardly will a week pass by without sad stories of abduction of innocent citizens, including children, young, and old people by the marauding bandits.
Amid tension in which farmers have been forced to abandon their farms, some secondary schools and a tertiary institution were attacked by bandits recently in Kaduna.
But some of the schools have employed local vigilantes armed with local weapons – an action that has often proved ineffective against the heavily armed bandits.