The upsurge of bandits in Kebbi State has forced the state government to shut down seven schools, declaring them unsafe after the recent kidnapping by bandits of students and teachers at Federal Government College (FGC), Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State.
Chairman of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in Kebbi State, Isah Arzika, had acknowledged that the schools being shutdown are in vulnerable areas of the state, considered soft targets for bandits to strike at will. The State NUT chairman explained that the closure of the schools was a proactive measure to prevent recurrence of the FGC, Birnin Yauri’s invasion. He added that the state government had directed all principals to close any school considered not safe from bandits’ attacks as the police have been deployed to monitor and protect schools across the state.
According to Arzika, “Police and vigilante groups had since been deployed for monitoring and protection of schools.”
The NUT state chairman stated that all the proactive safety measures involve all stakeholders critical to the security of the school environment.
Arzika stated: “This is because principals are teachers, all the Directors at the Board are also teachers. It is the decision that we all took that is affecting us.
“Government has given us an order and option to take any necessary action as far as our schools are concerned. That we can close those schools which we think are not safe and prone to attacks in the areas close to the forest.
“I am not talking about only boarding schools, any school that is on the frontline areas and not safe, we would just ask the students to pack and go home, pending the time the situation normalises.”
The Kebbi State government has joined other states in the northwest, which include Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, as well as Niger State in the north central, in shutting down schools to forestall attacks, killings and kidnapping by bandits.