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Just as we were grappling with the terrible realities of the Florida school shooting and reflecting on our own tales of similar woes which we had erroneously thought were in the past;  tragedy struck yet again, throwing up a feeling of déjà vu from the 2014 kidnap of 276 girls from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.  On Monday, the 19th of February, the news of an attack on Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, broke in the media but with sketchy details. By the next day, it became clearer that some girls (students of the school) may have been kidnapped. Afterwards, unconfirmed figures were bandied around because there was no official statement from the government quarters to confirm the incident and declare the exact number of victims. The uncertainty   continued until Wednesday, when the first official statement emerged via twitter from the presidency. Then, days after, (on Sunday) the number of missing girls was officially announced to be one hundred and ten. One begins to wonder, if it took the government one whole week to determine the number of the abducted girls, hope it would take less rigmarole to track and rescue the girls, or, are we in for a replay of the Chibok saga? -Just wondering.

The insecurity in our schools in recent times has become a thing of serious concern. Its prevalence in the North East is quite disturbing but, it has also happened in the South West albeit, on a smaller scale. The case of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School at Ikorodu area of Lagos where three girls were kidnapped in 2016 is still fresh in our minds. It happened again in 2017, when gunmen kidnapped six pupils from the Igbonla Model College, Epe area of Lagos.  If it could happen in small scales in these places, it could as well happen at a larger scale and even spread to other parts of the country if nothing is done to contain this ugly trend.
The fear of the continued kidnap of teenagers from schools is palpable but even more terrifying is the fear they could get killed. Former US President, Barack Obama once said; “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost”. The government needs to be proactive to forestall a repeat of the tales of the past.  The unpalatable tales of teenage boys being killed in their sleep, in schools, is an everlasting nightmare of every parent and should be that of the government as well.  How can we forget in a hurry how 59 teenage boys were brutally murdered in their sleep at the Government College in Bundi Yadi, Yobe State, and all such similar reports of the cold blooded murder of innocent teenagers, their only offence being the quest for formal education?  The North East which has become a hot bed and a ‘harvest ground’ for Boko Haram, should receive the biggest attention while schools in other parts of the country should receive attention as well. No stone should be left unturned in fighting this battle before things get out of hand.

It becomes a ‘jamboree’ each time it occurs; with lots of tall talks, blame games and media frenzy,  but the agonies of the victims and their immediate families, is something better imagined than experienced. And the effect of these incessant attacks on schools, especially up north, where there is a lot of government inducement for people to go to school, cannot be overemphasized. The earlier the government arrests the situation, the better for all of us.  No more grandstanding and bulk passing!

Talk to Judy
Hi guys! My name is Judy. I am here to share your problems with you. Trust me to proffer solutions to those mind boggling problems you wouldn’t dare share with friends, siblings, parents or anyone else.
A lot of people; teenagers alike, hurt secretly with problems they can’t discuss openly for fear of being judged. You may hide your identity if you wish, but do write in and let’s discuss that problem. It is not healthy to bottle up problems. Moreover, problems shared are problems half solved. Or, you think no one cares? I do care!
I will be here every week to help you solve that problem. But, I can’t, if you don’t talk about it, so do write in. you never know, what you call a problem may just be a normal growing up experience.

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Nigerian Teenagers react to the Dapchi incident

Adebayo Samuel, 14
The situation is getting out of hand. The government really needs to do something quickly to rescue the girls and stop a future occurrence.

Adeleke Samuel, 14
I am really worried that things might get out of hand. What if the girls are not quickly found, like we have seen before? And what if they are not found eventually? The government should just do something fast.

Adeyemi Ayomide, 15
Hmmmm…, I just pray things don’t get out of control. Something has to be done to stop a repeat of this. If not, people in remote places may be scared of going to school, and that won’t be good because education is supposed to help them get out of poverty and ignorance. The government just needs to do something.
GodIt’s as if one is watching the same movie all over again. First, it was the Chibok girls, now these ones. It’s beginning to get scary because one doesn’t know what’s coming next. I appeal to the government to do everything possible to rescue those girls. I really can’t imagine being in their shoes. The thought of it alone could drive me insane.

God’sfavour Ezevilo, 16
It’s as if one is watching the same movie all over again. First, it was the Chibok girls, now these ones. It’s beginning to get scary because one doesn’t know what’s coming next. I appeal to the government to do everything possible to rescue those girls. I really can’t imagine being in their shoes. The thought of it alone could drive me insane.

Jimoh Aishat, 13
I just can’t imagine myself in the shoes of those girls. It is really terrifying. The government should please, try everything possible to rescue them immediately. It is really scary and not good for our educational system.

Obi Chika, 15
It is quite scary thinking of the condition of those girls. I can’t imagine being in their shoes. I pray they are found soon unlike the case of the Chibok girls. Honestly, it is really scary; the government needs to do something to stop this from happening again.

Kosi Ayah, 14
Only God knows what those girls must be going through now. It is difficult to imagine and I pray it doesn’t happen again. The government should please, do something to end terrorists attacks.

Olayiwola Segun, 16
I can’t imagine what the girls and their families are going through now. It must be very hard on them. The government should please, try and find them quickly. And I pray it doesn’t happen again. Honestly, something just has to be done.

Onuweri  Oghenefejiro, 15
It’s beginning to appear like it’s a crime to go to school these days. While in school, you are afraid you could be abducted or killed.  If you succeed in passing out of school, then you begin the grueling search for a job. Honestly, all these things happening are casting a cloud on schooling and it is really sad.

Quadri Ghaniyah, 14
I am beginning to get scared by all these abductions and killings in schools. Honestly, I can’t imagine myself in the place of those girls. The thought of it alone sends cold shivers down my spine. The government should please do everything within its powers to quickly rescue those girls and to make our schools safer.

Sesu Favour, 15
It’s really beginning to scare me to think that school is no longer as safe as it used to be. How can one explain it that people get abducted and killed just because they are in school? The government should do something urgent to arrest the situation before it turns really bad.

Tajudeen Aisha, 14
I pray the girls are rescued as soon as possible. It must feel terrible to be in their shoes and one can’t begin to imagine how their families are feeling right now. It is sad that these things keep happening. The government should please do something to make our schools safer.