By Muhammad Yakubu
The past few days came with terrifying stories of how gunmen invaded Government Science Secondary School, Kankara and abducted 344 students of the college.
The sad event, no doubt, has left many, including me, deeply troubled and can have lasting effects in our collective memories.
Fortunately, however, the students have since regained their freedom after spending six horrifying days in the hands of their abductors.
Yet even after their release, the level of huge trauma they experienced may continue to flash in their memories for the rest of their life.
But even more disturbing is the possibility of the fact that many parents would rather keep their children at home now than take them back to where their security is not guaranteed. I remember vividly how my father was quick to withdraw my sister from a boarding school in Zaria, following the abduction of Chibok girls in 2014. He was swift in bringing her back home where she attended day school.
Yet my dad had the ability and hence options were available to him. Truth is, not everyone has the luxury of alternatives. The consequence is that this lack of options may push parents to take out children from the schools.
This, God forbids, will have a devastating effect in our region. I was particularly impressed with how one of the abducted students faced the camera and expressed himself. He indeed spoke very well even though it was clearly his first time being interviewed on a national TV.
Science Board schools in the North have over the years built a reputation of producing world class professionals in various fields.
The likes of Professor Sarki Abba, Professor Abba Gumel, and Abba Zubair , to mention but a few, are all products of these kinds of schools.
And, the aforementioned are all individuals that excelled in their chosen fields.
This is more reason that sad event in Kankara could hamper the production of potential doctors, engineers and other great scientists.
With the current heightened state of insecurity in the North, not only Kankara students would fear going back to school, but also scholars in many other rural areas in the region.
This would result in producing more out of school children in a region, which has the highest number of such individuals in the country. In many rural areas across the North, there are still people who consider western education as a taboo. The Kankara incident will therefore confound an already bad situation.
In order to stop that from happening, however, the government at all levels must intensify efforts to tackle the ravaging insecurity in the region. One of the ways to achieve that is by educating the people. I believe most of the gunmen involved in the current atrocities are uneducated.
A video clip I watched recently corroborates this point. In the said video, a captured bandit revealed that he was paid a paltry N10,000 out of the ransom of money of two million they received from the families of two of their captives. One can easily go on to conclude that the man does not even have an idea of how much two million is and how little he was paid considering the magnitude of the crime he committed.
Unarguably, some people are taking advantage of the level of illiteracy of the bandits. It is apparent that a person that can happily receive ten thousand naira from two million cannot purchase the expensive weapons they operate with.
Another way to curb the menace is by beefing up security at the schools in. This would be a source of encouragement to parents that the lives of their children are not at risk when they are schools.
Government must also increase the number of schools close to people to serve as options to parents and students. The current public schools we have that are closer to people must also be revitalized to be in sync with 21st century institutions of learning.
No doubt, most of the learning facilities have dilapidated, putting the lives of students in jeopardy, as the buildings can collapse at any time.
Muhammad writes from Abuja.