Parents of the abducted 121 male and female students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, are lamenting that they have lost sleep and their hearts bleed continuously a week after bandits whisked their children into captivity.
Bandits had on Monday, July 5, stormed the school after a failed attempt at a nearby Faith Academy, deceiving the students that they were soldiers who were deployed to the school to secure them against kidnappers who were shooting sporadically at about the time.
This massive abduction was the fourth major incidence in Kaduna State after those of Greenfield University, Abuja-Kaduna highway, Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka and Engravers College, Kakau Dajji.
When UGAMATV visited the 31-year-old school spread on about 42 hectares of land, parents and well-wishers were sighted holding prayers sessions for several hours, seeking divine intervention for the safe return and reunion of their beloved children.
A father to one of the abducted students, Nuhu Kasa, noted that, if the authorities saddled with the responsibility of protection of lives and property had yielded to the distress call in good time, the bandits may have had a change of mind and free the abductees who were being taken into the forest on foot.
“My daughter marked her birthday here in the school the preceded Saturday before her abduction. We expect to have her at home by this weekend only to hear that the school was attacked and many of our children were abducted from their hostels.
“If the government had responded earlier in the morning, possibly, the kidnappers who have had a rethink and release our children before they were taken into the far distance.
“My daughter had a dream to be a lawyer which she is very personate about. This is a girl that has not trek that far before this unfortunate development. I’m worried about her condition and that of her colleagues.
“I want to plead with those in authority who are saddled with the responsibility of protecting our children to come to our rescue in good time. These are national assets. The government should please come to our rescue. I am traumatised.
“The mother cries all along. We cannot sleep. We are worried about cold even inside the house let alone of what these children are passing through in the forest”, he lamented.
Speaking in similar tone to that of Nuhu, another parent, Solomon Danladi said, “our appeal is that government should help us. Our hearts are bleeding since the occurrence.
“The trust we have in this government to protect our children is dwindling. We see government as paying attention to other things than rescuing our children.
“We are aware of the protest in Sabo over the same kidnapping issue where scores of security agents were deployed to disperse the protesters. If the same energy is deployed early on that Monday, maybe, they would have rescued our children.
“We are pleading for help. Everyday, we hear kidnapping. We need a conducive environment as citizens of this country and the only way to do that is for the government to deliver on its security responsibility”, he pleaded.
These developments in Kaduna and other northern states is deepening age-long education gaps between the North and the South as pupils, students and parents alike in the region are declining seeking education without which no meaningful sustainable development can take place.