Abubakar El-Rufai, the seven-year-old son of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who was enrolled in 2019 at the Kaduna Capital School, has been absent from school for several weeks till now, according to findings by Sahara Reporters.
After visiting the school premises on Monday, established from pupils and teachers, who are presently in the first term, that young El-Rufai had not come to school since resumption, amidst the rising insecurity and threats to the lives of schoolchildren.
Our correspondent, who arrived at the school around 10am, did not see Abubakar till the school closed by 1pm and pupils started trooping home.
We also noticed some security lapses in the school, located on Isa Kaita Road, Ungwan Sarki area of the state, which may have contributed to the reasons why the young boy was no longer regarded to be safe on the premises.
On September 23, 2019, Governor El-Rufai had made a public show of his son’s enrolment in the school, saying he decided to enrol his son in a government primary school to lead by example and commit to the education sector in the state.
Abubakar is in Basic 2B at the Kaduna Capital School – a class of about 50 pupils before COVID-19 pandemic struck last year. Schools started resuming in the state from February 1, 2021, after the pandemic-induced long break – the senior secondary school classes first and later primary school pupils on March 22.
Teachers, Pupils Confirm Young El-Rufai Absent From School Since Resumption. Some pupils and two teachers, who spoke with us, confirmed that the young El-Rufai had been absent from school since resumption.
“He does not come again. I have not seen him. I don’t know if he is still a pupil,” one of the pupils stated. “His class is in this two-storey building, which is for the primary school. But he has not come since we resumed,” another pupil noted.
“You know the security situation around public schools in the state; he may have been withdrawn by his parents to prevent any embarrassing situation of abductions or bandits’ attacks,” a teacher noted.
“His parents may have enrolled him in another school or who knows, he may still be back, perhaps after the schools are safer. The governor has a strong stance against bandits – he is not willing to be seen to be paying ransom. So he would have assessed the situation and concluded that he has to protect his son from any occurrence,” another teacher stated.
Coincidentally, El-Rufai’s wife, Hadiza, on Monday insinuated that her husband had told her that if she ever got kidnapped, he would not pay ransom to secure her release.
On her Twitter handle, Hadiza Isma El-Rufai (@hadizel), said, using asterisks in place of what is believed to kidnapping and ransom, “At my farm today. Anyone thinking of ********** me should not bother. The man has already warned me that he will not pay any ******.”
We observed one of the security lapses in the ancient school – established in 1957 – which is a big hole in the fence – wide enough to take human beings not willing to go in and out through the gate.
It is not clear how long the hole has been there but it is synonymous with the holes through which bandits have gained entrance into some schools where there have been abductions. Although some renovation works were being carried out around the fence of the school, it is not clear if the hole will be blocked in the process.
Also, the Kaduna Capital School lacks any armed security personnel. At the gates are two elderly men – probably in their 70s, sitting on rickety iron chairs. The governor’s son’s school lacks armed security personnel and in the event of an attack, it could easily cave in to bandits or other such intruders.
The school has a boarding facility but it is not clear if the boarding house is presently operational or pupils have been asked to leave for their houses. A staff member noted that the state government must intensify the security architecture around schools in the state at this time, including the Kaduna Capital School.
He said, “We may say KCS is in town – it is in the heart of the town. But some bandits are also in town; and when they strike with heavy weapons that the police cannot match, who will help us out? That is why the government must not leave anything to chance.
“Every public school should have a police patrol vehicle stationed or at least, armed policemen’s presence to forestall. Shutting down public schools in some states of the north is not only detrimental to educational development but also cowing in to the demands of the bandits.”
We observed a large stretch of bush behind the classrooms of the KCS, which could also serve as a hideout for criminals. Kaduna State has experienced abductions of public school pupils by gun-wielding bandits recently with the state government emphasizing that it will mete out violence to the criminals and not negotiate to pay any ransom.
Only on March 12, the bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Mando, Kaduna, at about 9.30pm, shooting indiscriminately before abducting the students. The Kaduna college was said to have about 300 male and female students – mostly aged 17 and older – at the time of the attack.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan, had said 39 of the students were missing while the army was able to rescue 180 people after a battle with the gunmen.
“Further checks in the wake of the attack by armed bandits indicate that 39 students are currently unaccounted for, including 23 females and 16 males,” Aruwan had stated in a release.
Not done, on March 15, the attackers also stormed Rema Primary School in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the state, abducting three teachers and pupils – but the pupils were later freed. Also, security forces only last week thwarted a gang that had stormed a government secondary school in Ikara town, headquarters of the Ikara Local Government Area of the state.
Insecurity: Reps Ask Buhari To Declare State Of Emergency
WORRIED by the worsening security situation in the country, the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity to effectively curb the ugly development.
The Speaker, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this while reading the resolutions approved after a fourhour executive session held on the floor of the Green Chamber, during which lawmakers condemned attacks on security agents and formations across the country.
To this end, the House resolved to invite the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mongunu; the service chiefs and other heads of various paramilitary agencies to appear before it and brief the members on the security situation in the country.
The House also mandated all its security committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in the Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.
Gbajabiamila, who read the resolution, said: “The House reiterates its commitment to the security and corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would, therefore, accelerate its engagement with stakeholders on a special security summit to be organised by the House of Representatives.
“The House should urgently invite the NSA, service chiefs, and paramilitary chiefs, Controller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT to brief the House on the security situation in the country.
“Considering the security situation, the President should immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity so as to fast track all measures to ensure the restoration of peace in the country.
“Call on the judiciary to accelerate the prosecution of those awaiting trial due to banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.
“Provide emergency relief to all communities that have been adversely affected by recent attacks across the country.
“The President should as a matter of urgency, ensure financial autonomy to Local Government Councils to guarantee their functionality to serve the local populace.
“The Federal Government should ensure the protection of National Infrastructure assets, particularly the Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State.
“The House mandated all its Security Committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in our Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.
“That the number of personnel in the Police and Military falls far short of the required number to effectively secure the country and calls for immediate recruitment to this effect,” the resolution read.
Buhari Is Helping Fulanis Take Over, There Is No Govt in Nigeria – Governor Ortom
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of working for Fulanis. He said the country has no government following incessant killings by bandits and Fulani herdsmen in his state.
He lamented that over 70 people have been murdered in two weeks in Makurdi Local Government Area. Ortom spoke to protesters on Tuesday at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Abagena village. Suspected herdsmen, Monday night, killed citizens and wounded many others. “What is happening now, to me, is very clear; Mr President is just working for these Fulanis to take over the whole country.”
He said Buhari’s body language is what is being played out and that the action and inaction of Mr President “shows that he is only the President of Fulani people”. Ortom decried that attackers regularly send indigenes away from their homes, yet go to kill them where they take refuge.
Ortom called them “Fulani herdsmen”, stressing that “They are not bandits. They are Fulanis. We saw and heard them speak the language.” The Benue helmsman stated that the federal authorities have been dragging foot on the matter.
“If the federal government had taken a proactive step, we will not be where we are. In the last two weeks, over 70 persons have been killed just in Makurdi Local Government Area alone.”
Noting that the situation is not acceptable, Ortom said similar killings were going on in Guma and Gwer-West. Ortom recalled he alerted Nigerians when Fulanis from 14 countries met in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
He said they declared that except the prohibition of open grazing law was reviewed, “Benue will not know peace.” The governor wondered why the federal government was yet to arrest the leaders of Miyetti Allah that hosted the meeting. “It means we don’t have a government”, he declared.
“Mr President must do the needful and I want to suggest that immediately, let there be a security summit. I am aware that the situation is prevalent in other parts of the country.”
On Monday, the police command in Benue State also confirmed the kidnap of three students of the Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi.
Freeze Pantami’s Accounts – Rinu Oduala Urges CBN
An #EndSARS campaigner, Rinu Oduala, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the bank accounts of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over his past controversial comments supporting the activities of terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Pantami had since renounced his radical pro-terrorists comments, saying he now knows better but Nigerians have been unsparing and relentless in the call for the resignation or sacking of the minister.
Oduala, who tweeted via @SavvyRinu on Thursday, urged the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to freeze Pantami’s accounts just as the apex bank swiftly froze the accounts of at least 20 #EndSARS promoters last year over terrorism-related allegations.
“Godwin Emefiele, when are you going to freeze the bank accounts of Isa Pantami?”
The PUNCH had reported that the apex bank through an ex parte order froze the accounts of Oduala and 19 other persons who played a role in the October 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
The CBN had said the accounts were frozen because of the nature of the investigation which was terrorism-related but after about three months, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the apex bank to unfreeze the accounts of the 20 #EndSARS protesters.
Oduala, a leading voice during the #EndSARS protests last year, had pulled out of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing alleged killing of protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. She had faulted the decision of the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel to reopen the toll gate when justice hasn’t been served to the victims of the October 20, 2020 Lekki shootings.