Niger Closes All Public Schools over Insecurity

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Bandits kidnap APC ward chairman’s daughter, nephew

Laleye Dipo in Minna

Following the worsening state of insecurity in parts of Niger State, the state government has closed all public schools with effect from Friday (today), March 12, 2021.

This is coming as the daughter and nephew of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman in Kato ward, Alhaji Sani Majin Kato have been kidnapped.

The closure of the schools will be on for two weeks.

The decision was taken at the state executive council meeting held at the Council Chambers of the Government House on Wednesday with Governor Abubakar Sani Bello presiding.

A statement issued yesterday by the state Ministry of Education, which was signed by the Information Officer, Mr. Jibrin Usman Kodo, confirmed the closure of the schools.

The statement explained that the policy was necessary “to give relevant security agencies the time and opportunity to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of all public secondary schools” in the state.

According to the statement: “The exercise, when completed, will provide an all-inclusive mechanism and strategies that will restore and guarantee sustainable security and safety of students, school infrastructure, education managers, and teachers in the state” .

According to document sighted by THISDAY, a meeting had been held earlier with the leadership of the Association of the Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS),Association of Model Islamic Schools (AMIS), Executive Chairman, Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB),Heads of Education Agencies, Directors of the Ministry and other stakeholders of the Education sector in the State on the issue.

The statement emphasised government’s commitment to “leave no stone unturned and ensure that all schools are safe environments for effective teaching and learning”.

It urged the people of the state “not to relent in their show of solidarity, cooperation and collaboration with the government in this critical task of surmounting security challenges especially in the school system”.

No fewer than 22 schools (11 day schools and 11 boarding schools) were closed in the wake of the Kidnap of 42 persons from the Government Science College, Kagara .

These schools are located in banditry-prone local governments of Rafi, Mariga, Munya and Shiroro.

Meanwhile, the daughter and nephew of the APC Chairman in Kato ward, Alhaji Sani Majin Kato have been kidnapped.

The duo were abducted yesterday from their Bugiko village in the Shiroro LGA and taken into hiding.

One other person was injured in the operation by the bandits .

The names of the abductees were given as Akiratu Sani (daughter) and Kaka Danladi ( nephew) of the APC ward chairman.

The gunmen were reported to have stormed the residence of the ward chairman in the village and started shooting sporadically.

“ My daughter had earlier woken me up that there were some people in the compound,” the Ward chairman told THISDAY on telephone interview, adding that before he could do anything, “the bandits started shooting at our rooms; I shouted to others to run but bullet hit one person injuring him seriously”.

Kato, who narrated the ordeal of the family, suddenly stopped giving details of what and how the incident happened because people with him asked him not to talk to anyone about the situation.

It was however learnt that the politician and some other members of the family were hiding in the bush when THISDAY contacted him again.

He confirmed that he and some other members of the family were in the bush searching for the abducted girls.