Kidnap of ABU French-Language Students


Saturday letter1

Nigeria and the intentions of Nigerians do present no-brainer puzzles that a six-year-old can solve with ease. For a much older folk like me, I was only left wondering in perplexity about the actions and utterances of a segment of Nigeria regarding the recent situation in France that threatened to escalate on account of the beheading of a school teacher, Samuel Paty, by an Islamist.

What troubled me really was the call by the far-right party of Marine LePen to expel nonconformist Muslims in France by force; this party, the National Front, is slowly gaining a wider berth in the French society. However, over here in Nigeria, especially at Kano State, the state governor and a local mullah ummah went into vituperative overdrive, renaming the popular France Road at Sabon Gari in Kano City as “Madina Road” and calling louder for “punitive” actions to be taken against the interests of France, including the sack of all French nationals in the service of the Kano State Government and replacing French with Arabic in school curriculum over there.

What I did not hear was a call to the ummah of Nigeria to shun France mainland in their holiday and medical tours. Whatever the comical effect and hypocrisy of such attitudes of our Kanawa compatriots, the message of hate for France and President Emmanuel Macron was duly disseminated across the country. Now, then, it was reported in the news media that a blatant kidnap job was done on French-language students of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who were on a journey to Lagos to link-up with a purpose-specific French cultural centre to further their finer grasp of this foreign language.

The way a pro-north newspaper reported this kidnap incidence, you do not have to be an intelligence officer to start thinking of so many questions to answer. We understand that there were more female students on that fateful trip than male students and we parents can only sit back and imagine the horror of a religiously-fuelled vendetta on hapless Nigerian maidens. But, who ordered that hit? Whatever think-thank had advanced the cause of kidnappers and terrorists as necessary political tools to effect changes in the body polity (the kidnap of the Christian Chibok girls was the main issue that forced Goodluck Jonathan out) had also unwittingly chart the course for the disintegration of Nigeria. Point to note is that an action of this nature further reinforces the convictions of people like Trenton Tarrant and Emmanuel Macron.