It is been over three weeks since the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, kidnapped over 200 female secondary school students in Chibok, Borno State. Up till now, the girls have not been found. Meanwhile, the issue has continued to generate wide condemnations, both locally and internationally. Saturday PUNCH went to the streets to get the reactions of young students.
Some of the girls could be their parents only children Adamu Rahmat, 15
What Boko Haram has done by kidnapping fellow students is not right. It is really painful because the students were supposed to be writing their exams. The kidnappers are very heartless because they don’t care what the parents would be going through. It appears that the Boko Haram sect members don’t have human feelings. Some people say that politicians are involved but we don’t really know, so I will advise the government to intensify its rescue efforts. I will urge the kidnappers to release the girls; some of the girls could be their parents’ only children or only daughters.
Kidnapping students is very bad Mohammed Abu, 15
I don’t think the insurgency will spread to the states it hasn’t got to already, like Lagos, because it’s been going on for a while now and they have restricted it to the north and Abuja. What they have done is really bad because the students had nothing to do with them, so why kidnap them? The insurgents have their own children, how would they feel if some people kidnapped their children too? Government should strengthen the military to stop all the violence.
Our protection is in the hands of the government Ibrahim Sanni, 18
Government should provide more security for Nigerians because I think that our protection is in the hands of the government. I don’t think that the insurgency will spread down south to a place like Lagos so I’m not afraid that I may be kidnapped. However, I believe that security is tighter in the South.
Government should seek the assistance of other countries Tina Martins, 13
The kidnapping of young girls is a bad thing. I will appeal to Boko Haram to release the girls. Meanwhile, the Federal Government should seek the assistance of other countries to find the missing girls and to fight Boko Haram. It’s not right to kidnap children; this should stop. We cannot continue to live like this.
Police should check people’s bags Ezekiel Ojo, 24 (Technical school)
I think that government needs to improve on security in this country. Our security operatives should challenge people with bags to ascertain that they are not in possession of explosive materials. Vehicles should also be checked and this means that our police will have to stop collecting N20 from motorists. The problem is that once the police are given money, they don’t bother to check if the motorist is with dangerous materials. I’m not afraid of them. In fact if I should see them, I would be the first to kill them.
The public should be more vigilant Daniel Omotuyi, 14
Government should try to provide maximum security in the country to protect the citizens and give them rest of mind. Government should also find ways to put an end to this crisis. I heard that they were in Lagos recently so I think we need maximum security here too. We need prayers in this country. We as a people also need to be more vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police or the appropriate authorities.
I’m worried for our safety Paul Omoefe, 14
Government should put more effort in providing adequate safety for the people of this country. I don’t think any safety state is exceptional, so the insurgents could decide to move to any other state. Government should do more investigation so that it can unravel the secrets behind it all. The public should also be more vigilant and should not hesitate to call the police when they notice anything strange or out of place. I’m worried because the sect could decide to carry out their activities anywhere.
Government should beef up security in schools Ayomide Anjorin, 16
I will advise state governors to beef up security in all schools because the insurgents can go anywhere. Governors should also rid the streets of mentally-ill people or those who claim to be so. Some of them use it as a disguise to perpetrate evil and kidnap people. The evil forest situation in Soka area, Ibadan, Oyo State really opened our eyes to what had been going on. I believe that government knows Boko Haram members, they are not just arresting them.
Students will march on the streets if… Blessing Atere, 15
I felt really sad when I heard about the kidnapping of the girls, but the government should work on securing their release. Government should check everywhere because the insurgents could be hiding the girls anywhere. I know that with the power of God, the crisis will not spread to other parts of the country. If government doesn’t find the girls, we students will march on the streets in protest and those of us that are 18 will not vote for the president in 2015.
The situation is getting out of hand Eunice Okoyomon, 15
Boko Haram should release the girls and I urge the government to put an end to the crisis in the country. I live in a military barracks. Government should do everything to get the girls back. The situation is getting out of hand and government should start getting results.
Students should be more careful Blessing Afolabi, 15
What happened to those girls was really bad and unfortunate. Some of the girls could be the only children of their parents. The parents must be going through hell right now; some of them would have fallen ill because it would be affecting them psychologically. Our government should start tackling the problem of insecurity in the country. On our own, students should also be careful because kidnapping is so rampant these days. Students should be conscious of their environment and should be cautious when taking buses. I’m afraid for the country because students are no longer safe. But I will try to be more careful, although, we understand that Boko Haram has been using different tricks which could be confusing.
Students had nothing to do with their fight Joseph Akpan, 15
I want to urge the government to provide more security. What Boko Haram did can be said to be very bad. The students they kidnapped don’t have anything to do with their cause, so why are they punishing them for what they know nothing about? The students don’t even know what Boko Haram is fighting for. Boko Haram should just come out to say what the kidnapping is all about. Some of us are now scared because if they can do it in one state, then they can do it in any state. It is frustrating.
Government should teach us to protect ourselves Abiola Victor, 17
Government should improve on security in the country and organise programmes to sensitise students to how to protect ourselves. I’m scared already but only God can solve the problem of insecurity for us. This is why it is good for children to have good communication with their parents so that their parents will know where they are at every point in time.
Security is in God’s hands Emmanuel Olubunmi, 16
I want to urge the government to provide more security in schools and for students. But the truth is that our security is in the hands of God. Government has shown us that that it does not know what to do about the situation. I was scared when I heard the news about the kidnapped girls. Now, students are afraid even to go out because of everything that is happening.
Their sponsors should be dealt with Samuel Popoola, 17
I don’t even know what the insurgents are fighting for, whether it is political or religious because churches and mosques have been attacked. I also feel illiteracy is part of the problem because the people they use for suicide missions might have been brainwashed. I hope the kidnapped girls would continue to be prayerful, hoping they would be rescued soonest. Each time I remember, it makes me sad and I wish it doesn’t happen to me or my friends and relatives. The sponsors should be unmasked and dealt with. When their supplies are cut off, the attacks would be minimal.
Lagos is far from the North. Any attack on Lagos may be the height of the insurgency, because Lagos is like the home for all, and it would imply that the insurgents have penetrated the whole of the country. I pray it doesn’t happen to me or anyone close to me. In my school, we are aware of the need to be careful and sensitive to strange things and people. Every morning, I pray that Nigerians should understand the essence of living in peace and do what is right. It seems government is trying its best but there is more to be done.
Government should protect us Mayowa Badmus, 12
I will appeal to the government to improve on security and protect us (students). Students should also be responsible to reduce the risk of being kidnapped. Students should not roam the streets when they should be in school. Many students are already afraid of being kidnapped because of what happened to the girls in Borno State.
Federal and State Governments should work together Kehinde Oluwatobi, 16
I believe that our government is responsible for our security challenges. The government should find a way to get across to Boko Haram and negotiate with them to find solution to the problem. It’s the Federal Government that has been at the forefront of the fight, I think the states should also be more active. If the federal and state governments come together to do something about it, I believe that the problem will be solved. I feel for the parents whose children were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Some parents might have more than one child amongst the victims. Government should reach out to the leader of the group. If the problem is not tackled on time, it will spread beyond the northern part of the country to other regions. We don’t know what they wanted to do with the girls. Did they kidnap them to kill them or what? The leader said he would sell them, but it doesn’t make sense. I’m scared.
Government is responsible for the insecurity Omobolaji Oginni, 18
Everything that is happening is the fault of the government because government is charged with the responsibility of providing security for the people. I believe that the government knows about Boko Haram and knows what they are doing. If they want to solve the problem, they can put CCTVs everywhere to monitor the streets and see when people are committing crimes.
Government should reach out to Boko Haram Nnadozie Amaechi, 15
The kidnapping was absurd because nobody knows the reason for doing it. Government should monitor the situation because they are likely to sell the girls in neighbouring countries. We know that in the northern part of Nigeria and Africa, young girls are married off at a tender age. Government should find a way to reach the leaders of Boko Haram and negotiate with them. Government should also provide security in schools so that something like this doesn’t repeat itself. Apart from Boko Haram, there are other kidnappers targeting young children. There is already fear that it could affect students in other states, that’s why we need to put a stop to it.
God’s protection is all we need Adeola Baderinwa, 15
God’s protection is all we need in this country. It is clear that government cannot handle the security challenges in Nigeria. So students should be more careful themselves. We as students should be cautious before we follow anyone, including people claiming to be security operatives. And once students realise that they are about to be kidnapped, they should not be scared to run for their lives. They should attempt to escape from their captors. Since the terrorists are in Abuja now, their next target may be Lagos. But with prayers, they will not extend beyond the states where they already operate. And with prayer, God will solve the problem of insecurity for us. (Punch)
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