See the People University Of Jos Hired to Protect Students from Bandits Attacks.
In a bid to protect students and staff from attacks, the authorities of the University of Jos, Plateau State have engaged the services of local hunters to secure the school.
Over the past few months, the nation has been plagued with incessant bandit attacks in including kidnapping, killing and attacks on public institutions.
With regards to this, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the university, Sebastian Maimako, while speaking on Tuesday during the valedictory session to mark the end of his five-year tenure said hunters will now help in securing the school.
According to the VC, it is no longer news that the security situation in the country is quite tenuous, hence the need for the security measure.
He said, “This is why under my administration, we made frantic efforts to ensure that all lives and property within the university are adequately protected.
“When we got a security report that we were the soft target, we close our hostels for almost two weeks and suspended lectures eventually. Before we could reopen, we were given a condition that we must employ the services of local hunters to help us secure our hostels, particularly at night.
“Today, this is where we are, but thank God, the Director of Peace and Conflict Studies, looking at the happening, has offered to train these hunters on the rule of engagement in their working in the university.”
According to Maimako, his collaboration with various security experts led to a significant drop in crime in the university.
He also said the institution, under his leadership, recorded tremendous achievements in other areas under the period of five years when he served as Vice-Chancellor.
He said his administration, during the period under review, initiated and completed 85 projects which have been inaugurated.
This is coming amid reports that popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has revealed that there are about 100,000 armed bandits residing in the North-West forests alone.
Gumi disclosed this in an interview with The Punch while reacting to efforts to release kidnapped pupils of Tegina Islamic School, Niger State.
About 156 children were abducted from the Salihu Islamic School in Rafi LGA of Niger State.
The school located at Tegina was on Sunday, May 30 at around 4:30 p.m, invaded by bandits who shot two people dead as they carried out the attack.
Tegina is about 20 kilometres to Kalgara where secondary school’s students were abducted recently and a commercial melting pot for passengers travelling to Northwest and southwest of Nigeria.
Sources in the town said the abducted pupils were between three and 14 years of age, adding that some of the victims could hardly walk.
Speaking in the interview, Gumi said until the government engaged with the herdsmen, no school could be safe.
According to Gumi, until banditry is put to an end, the government cannot protect schools.
With regards to rescue efforts, Gumi said the bandits kidnapping school pupils were disappointed that he negotiated with them without the involvement of the Federal Government adding that one of them who repented went back to kidnapping since the cleric had no mandate from the government.
Gumi said, “We are trying to talk sense to them that these are just innocent schoolchildren. We don’t even have any idea of the condition of the children. We are just saying these are young children trying to study and they did nothing, so why are you trying to take dirty money from their families?
“This (kidnap of Islamic pupils) actually proves to the nation that the bandits are not really indoctrinated, they are just looking for money and I think that this is a good prognosis. They are not targeting a religion; they are not ideologues, which are difficult to deal with. We should not forget that they are not educated, formally or informally. They are just going about with cattle, and suddenly they found a lucrative way of finding money.
“But with good engagement, education and enticements like jobs and other things, they will leave this work. But we need a partner and we need the government to understand. Individuals like me alone cannot do it.
“All those we met (have stopped kidnapping), except for one of them who is kidnapping again, and he told us his reason, that he was neglected and he thought we had the mandate to negotiate. But when he realised that we did not have the mandate from anybody, he said he was going back to his business.
“So, the earlier we go into engaging them, the better. The ones who have agreed to lay down arms, you can engineer them to take care of the rest.”
The Islamic cleric added that the Niger State Government had been making efforts to get the children released, adding that the state had limited resources.
He insisted that the government could not protect schools without first finding means to end banditry in the country.
“To secure schools, why not engage the bandits. Engage them; they are not many. You can count them with your fingers. How can you guard schools? It is not possible. In the whole North-West, they may not be more than 100,000 bandits. And that is just a drop in the ocean.
“That is talking about those with weapons; because not all of them have weapons. Ninety percent of those who have weapons use them to protect themselves against cattle rustlers. They are victims too. Aerial bombardments will only worsen the situation because when you start killing their children, you remember they also have our children,” he added.
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