By Dapo Akinrefon
In its reaction, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday, urged Nigerians to rise above any premordial sentiments and rescue the country from what it described as a malady.
In a statement by its National publicity secretary, Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere stated that the recent abduction and rescue of the Kankara school boys in Katsina State by bandits was a joke.
The statement reads: “those who harbour any illusion that something is left in this joke of a country called Nigeria must have their eyes cleared after the Kankara practical joke of abduction of hundreds of school boys by Boko Haram bandits. The tragedy was Chibok foreplay in 2014 which was a regime change platform but in which previous lives were involved.
“But the Chibok practical joke was re-enacted a few days back as President Buhari arrived Katsina and hundreds of Kankara schoolboys were abducted by Boko Haram in broad daylight and along military routes like in Chibok.
We in Afenifere are in serious pain that we are called fellow Nigerians with some people at this sad period when human lives have been made to be totally worthless officially. We are not in doubt that the lives of these boys must have been used to swipe the card once again and more money will be available to terrorise Nigerians.
We call on all Nigerians, especially the enlightened north to rise and speak up at this mad season as we can’t continue to allow this practical joke to roll over us. It is time to rescue Nigeria from this malady and we must rise above any primordial sentiments.”
Attack should never have happened—UNICEF
Also reacting to the release of the abducted students, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement released on Friday said that the incident shocked the country. The statement signed by the UNICEF Nigeria Representative Peter Hawkins said, “I am relieved to hear that about 344 children are reported to have been released last night and we look forward to their safe return to their families. If any are still being held, we call on the attackers to release all children immediately. Any other children still being held captive in Nigeria should also be released. For one week, parents were awake at night, crying and awaiting the return of their sons. My thoughts and solidarity are with these children, their families and the Kankara community – who have endured an unimaginable ordeal this past week.
“Last Friday’s attack, directly targeting children in the middle of the night, in a place where they should feel safe, was an outrage. Schools should be safe. Children should never be the target of attack – and yet, far too often in Nigeria, they are precisely that – victims of attacks on their schools. Attacks on educational facilities are a grave violation of children’s rights. This incident is a disturbing reminder of the heavy toll that violence takes on civilians in north-west Nigeria, including children,” he said.