Child kidnap by Boko Haram is grooming future bandits for Nigeria, child protection network cries out

The Child Protection Network (CPN), a Non-Government Organisation(NGO) has raised  fear that the rate of child kidnapping in Nigeria by Boko Haram is an indication of grooming new set of bandits in the future, hence, need for government to be proactive in addressing the menace.

Penpushing reports that National Coordinator Kunle Sanni accompanied by other officials of the network raised the fear on Friday during a press conference held at the conference room of Penpushing Media located in Leme axis of Moshood Abiola way, Abeokuta.

The network cried out that the welfare of the children should be paramount to the Nigerian government, pointing out that with the trend of the kidnap, it was glaring that there will be more out of school children in the country

Penpushing further reports that Sanni declared that the network is deeply concerned about the protection of children in places that should be the safest for them, recalling that recently over 200 children from a government secondary school in Kaduna were abducted on March 7, 2024.

The National Coordinator of the Child Protection Network (CPN) added that the incident followed with 15 children in Sokoto along with other incidents in Ekiti and conflict zones, stressing that the ugly development has cast a dark shadow over the nation.

Penpushing also reports that Sanni, however, commended the Nigeria government’s stance against paying ransom, and equally called on the need for decisive action and unwavering commitment to addressing the root causes of the scourge.

“The sheer scale of these abductions, coupled with the growing number of similar incidents over the years, underscores a glaring failure in ensuring the safety of our children in schools. Despite the substantial allocation of funds, such as the 145 billion naira earmarked for the Safe School Initiative, there has been a disturbing lack of tangible progress in fortifying school security and preventing such heinous acts. This failure not only jeopardizes the education and well-being of our children but also poses grave long-term consequences for our society as a whole”, he stated

‘The prevalence of child abduction incidents contributes to a pervasive atmosphere of fear and insecurity among parents and students alike, leading to an alarming rise in school dropout rates. This not only deprives countless children of their fundamental right to education but also perpetuates a cycle of ignorance and disenfranchisement that undermines the fabric of our society’, Sanni added

“Moreover, the abduction of children by criminal elements poses a significant risk of indoctrination and radicalization, as these vulnerable individuals are often groomed to perpetuate violence and terrorism. The potential consequences of allowing such practices to continue unchecked are dire, with the specter of a future generation shaped by violence and extremism looming ominously on the horizon’, he stated

Penpushing reports that Sanni lamented that the harrowing experiences of the  abducted children extend beyond the initial trauma of their abduction, stating  that many are subjected to sexual exploitation and trafficking, which  further exacerbating their suffering and perpetuating a cycle of violence and victimization.

“In light of these grave concerns, we urgently call upon the authorities to prioritize the immediate rescue and safe return of the abducted children. This must be accompanied by comprehensive efforts to strengthen school security measures, including the implementation of advanced security systems and the erection of physical barriers to deter potential perpetrators.”

‘Moreover, while we commend the government’s stance against paying ransom, we emphasize the need for decisive action and unwavering commitment to addressing the root causes of this scourge. This includes holding those responsible for these abductions accountable and implementing robust measures to dismantle criminal networks involved in such nefarious activities”.

“In this time of crisis, it is imperative for our leaders to demonstrate empathy, resolve, and decisive leadership. We urge the President to address the nation directly on this matter and to prioritize the safety and well-being of our children above all else. Furthermore, we stand in solidarity with the affected families, offering our unwavering support and assistance in their time of need’.

Penpushing further reports that the Ogun State Coordinator of the network Adedamola Lapile in his contributions urged the Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration to take a proactive measure in tackling insecurity and kidnapping rather than waiting for a tragedy to strike in the state.

“We urge our governor to take proactive measures rather than waiting for a tragedy to strike our schools in Ogun state. We implore him to prioritize the enhancement of security infrastructure for the safety of our children. May God guide us through this endeavor’, Lapite said

‘Regarding the Safe School Project, its success hinges on meticulous planning tailored to the unique needs of each school. It’s imperative to involve every teacher and school administrator as they are the frontline guardians of our children’s safety’, he added.

‘Without their active participation, achieving a safe school environment is unattainable. Only when they are fully integrated into the security infrastructure can we speak of true success”, the state coordinator emphasised

Penpushing also reports that the Assistant National Secretary, of the network Barrister Michael Awo Ejeh in his remarks pointed out that there’s need for government to adopt more comprehensive and strategic approach to security.

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