Abduction Parents panic over unfenced boarding schools
By Ben Adoga
Against the backdrop of incessant kidnap of school children from their boarding facilities in the northern part of the country, with unpleasant consequence, some parents in Abuja are living with their hearts in their mouth over their children in a secondary school without a perimeter fence.
Government Secondary School, GSS, Karshi has been without perimeter fence, in spite of the security challenges in the country since April 2014 when the Chibok girls were abducted from their boarding facility.
This was as followed by the Dapchi incident and most recently the Kankara school, popularly referred to as Kankara boys where about 400 students were “rustled” like herds of cattle from their school in Katsina state, North West Nigeria which was quickly followed by the Kagara school kidnap of 300 children in Niger state, North Central Nigeria. Niger state shares boundary with the FCT.
It was also gathered that in GSS Karshi, located in a satellite town, herdsmen share the space with the children as they graze their cattle freely, even within the school.
Though no incident has taken place in the FCT, parents called for the need to be proactive.
Some parents lament the poor infrastructure and porous security around some boarding schools in some of the Abuja satellite towns like the GSS, Karshi.
A parent who identified himself as Chinedu said he and his family were worried over their son in GSS, Karshi. GSS Karshi can be said to be in an isolated location, and surrounded by bushy mountains, very ideal for learning but, with the present security challenges, call for worry, more so where there is no perimeter fence.
Investigations reveal that GSS Karshi has hundreds of students, both male and female, as boarding students, but lacks a complete perimeter fence.
It was learnt that the contract for the perimeter fence was awarded since 2010 but that, up till now, only the front part of the school is completed with a gate, while a vast part of the back side of the premises remains open and susceptible to attack.
Recall that, in 2016, the FCT Administration, under the present minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, in his first tenure, ordered that all boarding schools in the FCT be fenced.
Another parent, Jeffrey Akachukwu, lamented that the worst aspect of the situation, was the alleged occupation of part of the school land by Fulani herdsmen.
Akachukwu, who was furious that both herdsmen and farmers were allowed by the school authority to use the school exit gate as a thoroughfare, also expressed fears that the porosity of the environment portend dangers. He further queried “why are herdsmen allowed to be occupying part of the school’s land? Are the management of the school and FCT Administration not seeing the mountainous forest that surrounds the school? Are they waiting until an evil day comes before appropriate actions are taken?
Reacting to the development, a top management staff of FCT education secretariat who pleaded anonymity, said that water-tight arrangements had been worked out to beef up security around the boarding schools.
The source refused to disclose details of the security arrangements, claiming that, as a security issue, it ought not be divulged. When, however, our reporter visited, there were no signs of any security presence, either human or automated.
“I cannot tell you what we are doing to secure our schools. It is a security issue, you know, and we can’t make it public. As for GSS Karshi, we are making efforts to complete the fence. The contractor had to stop work when someone started claiming ownership of part of the school property.