The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed deep concern over the rising cases of kidnapping particularly of boarding schools in northern part of the country where young boys and girls have unfortunately been abused and violated by some unscrupulous elements in the society with a high level of impunity.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq gave this charge in Abuja over the weekend, while reacting to the recent reports of abduction of over 300 students at Government Girls Science Secondary School Janjebe, Zamfara state. He noted that the incident is another wake up call for the law enforcement agencies to up their game in protecting people's lives and properties.
"The level of insecurity in Nigeria is getting worse by the day and as such poses additional challenge to all the security agencies, particularly the Police, Department of State Service (DSS) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to do the needful to restore citizens' confidence in government to protect them", Ojukwu stated.
Against this backdrop, Ojukwu is using this medium to call on the security agencies to do all in their capacity to rescue the innocent school children so as not to adversely affect school enrollment in the state, thereby jeopardizing their right to education.
The Commission is also using this opportunity to call on the Zamfara state government to reconsider its concept of repentant bandits so that the state government does not elevate criminality to a level where bandits will be dictating conditions for negotiations with government.
On the other hand, Ojukwu seized the opportunity to appeal to the abductors to remember that the school girls in their custody are innocent and therefore do not deserve any form of violations or mistreatment, imploring them to ensure their immediate and unconditional release.
The NHRC boss is also appealing to the parents and guardians of the distressed school girls not to lose hope in reuniting with their children and wards, as the relevant agencies of government both at the federal and state level are expectedly doing the needful to address the unfortunate incident.
In conclusion, he reiterated the need for all the stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the Child's Rights Act 2003, particularly rights to free and compulsory education at least up to Senior Secondary School level. "This cannot be realised where the school environment is not safe and secure for a continuous learning", the Executive Secretary added.
Fatimah Agwai Mohammed