The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has called on the government at various levels to live up to the responsibility of securing the lives of Nigerians across the country.
It warned that anything short of this would force members of the union to down tools until when it would be safe for them to teach and guide pupils and students without fear of abduction.
The union gave the warning in a statement on Tuesday by its Secretary-General, Dr Mike Ene, while condemning the recent attack on a school in Katsina State.
Noting that a teacher was abducted and later released in Edo while two others kidnapped in Delta were still in captivity, it decried that the abduction of over 300 students from the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara has sent shivers through the spine of other members of the entire school community in Katsina.
According to the NUT, the recent incidents are sad reminders of previous ugly events in Chibok and Dapchi where Boko Haram terrorists abducted students, creating a monumental disruption of school activities.
It stressed that the recent bandit attacks on schools, if not immediately addressed will largely affect the 2019/2020 academic calendar.
The union stated that the academic calendar had already been disrupted by the six-month-long lockdown caused by the COVID- 19 pandemic.
It, therefore, called on all stakeholders to support the government and security agencies to provide adequate protection for students, pupils, teachers, and the school communities.
This, according to the NUT, is to ensure educational activities are not hampered by enemies of the educational system who use schools as soft targets.
Read the full statement from the union below:
The National leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers is highly disturbed by the re-emerging incidence of school invasion and abduction of teachers and students across the country’s educational institutions.
The wicked and merciless hands of anti-education terrorists clinched Mr Alu Ola Paul, a head teacher with Olagua Primary School Ohordua in Edo State, who kidnapped him on his way to work on the 1st December 2020 and released six day later.
In the same vein, on the 8th December 2020, Mrs Gladys Niemogha Belleh and Mrs Blessing Emunefe, both of whom are teachers of Ohorhe Secondary School, Effurun in Delta State were kidnapped in their school premises by armed bandits and are yet to be released, thereby throwing both families, students, and the school community into emotional and overall destabilisation.
Similarly, the night of Friday 11th December 2020, Government Science Secondary School Kankara in Katsina State, was invaded by armed bandits with reports that 333 students are yet to be accounted for as of today. This dastardly act has sent shivers through the spine of other members of the entire school community of Katsina State.
These incidents are sad reminders of previous ugly events in Chibok and Dapchi, where Boko Haram terrorists had attacked and abducted students, creating a monumental disruption of school activities and impeding our nation’s educational growth and advancement while subjecting family members and relatives to unimaginable trauma.
The recent condemnable events of bandit attack on schools, if not immediately addressed will largely affect the 2019/2020 academic calendar which has already been disrupted by the six-month-long lockdown caused by the COVID- 19 pandemic.
As a union, the NUT will not fold her hands and watch enemies of educational development threaten the nation’s educational system to suffocation.
As such, we wish to remind our government at all levels of their primary responsibility as enshrined in the Constitution which is the security of lives and property of the entire Nigerian citizens.
The NUT makes bold to demand that government must rise to these challenges and take up its responsibility to guarantee and execute this general principle and commitment to providing adequate security to all our educational institutions and the nation at large.
Unfortunately, it is becoming apparent that the government cannot provide security and safety for our teachers, students, and the educational community across Nigeria. This unfortunate situation must be addressed without further contemplation.
In light of these recent developments, the Nigeria Union of Teachers may be compelled to down tools pending when it is safe for our members to teach and guide our pupils and students without fear of abduction by these faceless enemies of educational prosperity of the Nigerian nation.
The NUT herewith extends our appeal to all stakeholders to join hands with the government and security agencies to provide adequate protection for the students, pupils, teachers, and the school communities, to ensure that educational activities are not hampered by enemies of the nations educational system using schools as soft targets.
In order not to escalate the disruption of our academic calendar which is in a fragile state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, NUT unequivocally calls on the Federal, State, and Local governments to ensure adequate security and 24-hour surveillance around our schools.
Also, the government must begin to consider the implementation of life insurance and hazard allowance to teachers in our basic and senior secondary schools, as approved by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day 2020.
Our prayers are with the families of the abducted teachers and students as we hold unto government on their promise to ensure their safe release to be reunited with family members and relatives without further delay.
Dr. Mike Ike Ene