According to information released by the Honourable Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiba, Nigeria has one the highest number of out of school children in the world, and the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. If these figures are not scary already then the recent forceful closure of schools mostly in the Northern part of Nigeria is ready to fuel that figure even more.
The latest to make that decision to send children home till further notice is banditry infested Zamfara State of Nigeria, where these violent sects have unleashed untold mayhem on the populace kidnapping so many and demanding huge ransom before release.
Children have also not been spared as schools have been ransacked and hundreds of pupils kidnapped and taken far away into unknown locations for days, while the parents run around looking for ways to raise the needed amounts to secure their release.
The nature of trauma these little ones face in the den of these dare devils cannot be quantified, while the effect it has on them for the rest of their lives if they come back alive is simply horrendous.
To stop these violent school abductions have happening, the state government directed that all primary and secondary schools be closed down. This decision did not specify when the schools will be reopened as it directed them be closed “indefinitely”.
These came after gunmen stormed Kaya Day Secondary School in Maradun Local Government Area of the state, and whisked away several students to locations unknown.
Nigeria like other West African countries run a unified calendar to fit into the regional exams. States who cannot meet up with the curriculum of the examination body risk losing one whole year as students from such states will be not allowed to sit for the exams.
But that is even looking at a situation where the students have hope of coming back to school someday to continue their education. The failure of government to provide the needed security architecture in these areas is not only putting more children at the risk of losing valuable part of their formative years within a proper structure where the right values and morals will be taught, but also increasing the percentage of fall-outs in the country.
There is no guarantee that all the students sent home forcefully by the unfortunate situation they have found themselves in will be willing or available to return when eventually the state is safe enough for schools to reopen, if they ever will.
It is often said that an idle mind is the devils workshop, and now that the schools are closed indefinitely, the onus is now entirely on the parents to provide care, tutelage and mentoring for these young ones. That is simply being unrealistic, as the parents are already preoccupied with looking for ways to make ends meet. As a result, most of these children will eventually be left on their own which is a dangerous outcome in all ramifications.
The increasing number of members being recruited by these evil organisations is backed by the large number of available hands roaming the streets. They become easy targets to be influenced and convinced to take up arms against the state.
Unfortunate developments like school closures indirectly support these cause, as they provide more foot soldiers to be absorbed into their gangs.
This is not only worrisome but sad for a nation who believes the youths are the future leaders of the country, where most of the youths are out of school or recruited by those fighting against the state, it only means doom.
The country must as a matter of urgency beef up its security mechanism across all states to ensure that normal academic activities can resume as soon as possible to safeguard its future generation.
Education is key and essential to the development of any nation, without it, the nation risks losing a whole generation of young vibrant intelligent minds to the evil arms of violence and destruction.
May God bless Nigeria.