The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ ) has condemned in strong terms the recent abduction of over two hundred students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, Kaduna state, North-West Nigeria.

NAWOJ national President, Ladi Bala in a statement said the latest abduction which is the fourth in the series of attacks on schools in the last two months, calls for urgent and proactive actions by the Federal Government and security agencies to halt the activities of criminals in the country.

“From Kankara in Katsina State, to Kagara in Niger, Jangebe in Zamfara and now Kaduna state, with the same mode of operation is certainly one attack too many for comfort.

“The question on the lips of many Nigerians is when will this new act of criminality which is exposing our innocent children to dangers in the forest end?” The statement reads.

It further states that it is quite disheartening to note that in recent times schools in northern Nigeria have come under serious security threat, thereby putting the act of teaching and learning in jeopardy.

“This ugly trend no doubt spells doom for the future of young Nigerians especially our cherished young boys and girls who are the future leaders of the country.

“The cherry picking in our schools if allowed to continue is not in the best interest of our great nation.” The statement stressed.

While concerted efforts are being put in place by government and development partners to bridge the gaps of learning lost to COVID-19, the wave of abductions of students is counter productive.

When schools are no longer safe for learning owing to the activities of criminals that seem to have taken over and calling the shots, it is not only inimical but retrogressive as well as an alarming in Nigeria’s developmental stride.

NAWOJ as the umbrella body for women journalists, therefore calls on government at all levels to fence all boarding schools and ensure that security personnel are deployed to keep watch over school environments in Nigeria.

“The decision to close schools by some state governors could serve as preventive steps in the interim but not in the best interest of students and education.

“The Nigerian government must not allow criminal elements to hijack and hold education and other sectors to ransom.

“NAWOJ views the attacks on our schools as a deliberate attempt to scuttle the Nigerian government’s achievement in the reduction in out of school children from the alarming rate of over twelve million to seven million.

“It is in the light of this that NAWOJ avers that the time to act is now.

“No more negotiation with abductors and related criminals in the interest of safety of Nigerians.” The statement reads.