“I had to sell everything for the liberation of my daughter”: How Nigeria lives the plague of kidnappings of schoolchildren

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As Nigeria suffers the plague of school kidnappings, local residents shared with The Guardian their stories related to massive kidnapping.

It is estimated that there are more than 3,000 kidnappers in the region, many of whom consider themselves Fulani, a semi-nomadic people.

The government of the state of Kaduna, in the north of the country, refuses to pay ransoms or negotiate with the kidnappers. “Even if my son is kidnapped, I prefer to pray that he gets to heaven, because I am not going to pay any ransom,” said the governor, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai.

Relatives of abductees often have to sell all of their property to release them: they often ask for hundreds of millions of naira (more than $ 240,000) in ransom, while few in Nigeria earn more than 50,000 naira (about $ 120) per day. month.

“I sold all my belongings. I sold our house. A piece of land that I had acquired, I had to sell it for the release of my daughter,” said Danboye Bege, father of Louise, who was kidnapped in May.

Mass kidnappings in the north of the country

In April 2014, in Chibok, almost 300 schoolchildren were kidnapped. Many of them have been released or found by the military, but more than 100 are still missing.

This year, there have also been several mass kidnappings.

On April 20, 23 students and employees of the University of Greenfield in Caduna were abducted and the criminals began contacting the families of the students to demand 800 million naira (almost 2 million dollars) for their release. On May 29, they were all released after paying about $ 240,000.

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In July, armed men kidnapped 140 students from a boarding school.

Now more than 200 schoolchildren are still kidnapped by armed groups.

Consequences of kidnappings

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University professor in Bauchi, Mansur Malumfashi, expressed his concern to the local media that the wave of kidnappings and insecurity discourage parents from taking their children to school. “There must be a conducive environment for learning to take place and under insecurity that conducive environment is impossible,” Malumfashi added.

The professor called for interaction between state governors and security personnel. “Why can’t they sit down and come up with a unified approach?” He asked.

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