A student of Federal College of Forestry and Mechanisation, Afaka in Kaduna State, Markus Makut, said he has lost interest in continuing his education following the abduction of his classmates by bandits who stormed the school hostels on Thursday night.
About 30 students, mostly females, were abducted when bandits stormed the college located opposite the premier military university, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), was attacked around 11:30 on Thursday night.
They were said to have gained entry into the school through the back. The incident has thrown many parents and other students from the school into confusion, as they were seen trooping in in search of their beloved ones.
Parents and sympathisers were later directed to Nigerian Army’s 1 Division and NDA to confirm whether their beloved ones were among those rescued by security operatives, but the majority of them stood hopelessly in front of the school, anticipating the miraculous return of their missing wards.
Among the symptherisers was Makut, aged 29, who told The Guardian that he was lucky to have checked out of the school earlier in the evening before the incident.
The student, who identified himself as a final year student of the Department of Horticulture, said he does not reside in the school, but was only planning to join one of his friends in the hostel this weekend to prepare for examinations that would be starting next week Thursday.
Markus, who was yet to recover from the shock of the ugly incident, said: “We thought we were safe because the school is close to the NDA, unfortunately, many students have been abducted.
“I have five females and eight males from my department that were among those kidnapped. I have lost interest in schooling.
“We have NDA and Army Division not far from here. I think we are in trouble in this country. I never expected this to happen; I’m in shock.”
When asked how the bandits gained entry into the school, he said: “I received a distress call from one of my classmates that some gunmen invaded the school from behind the boys’ hostel. While on a call with my coursemate, I was hearing gunshots.”
A father of two students of the institution, Mr. Bitrus Shekari, said one of his daughters was among the kidnapped students and appealed to the government to rescue the abductees on time.
“I have two students in the school. One has been kidnapped (girl), while the other one is safe. Government should please act fast and do something about this.”
Another father, Sunday Hai, stated: “My daughter is schooling here. I came to confirm whether she is among the kidnapped students or not. I’m just confused. My daughter’s name is Sarah Sunday. I called her phone this morning, but the phone was later switched off. I’m moving to NDA and 1 Division to check if she is there.”
The agitated father added: “I don’t know whether we have security in this country because if actually, we have security, see NDA here, very close to the school. Then how is it possible that they will come into the school and start abducting students? So, do we have security?
Meanwhile, the state government has promised to work round the clock to secure the release of the kidnapped students.
Speaking to journalists at the college’s gate, Commissioner for Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan, said troops from 1 Division prevented the bandits from taking many students and rescued 180 of them.
“The armed bandits in large number had attacked the institution around 11:30 pm on Thursday and kidnapped several students and staff.
“The armed bandits broke into the institution by breaching a perimeter fence. They then encroached about 600 metres to attack the first facility.
“The Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, on receiving a distress call, alerted the 1 Division Nigerian Army and the Air Training Command of the Nigerian Air Force.
“Troops of the Nigerian Army immediately moved to the school and engaged the armed bandits accordingly. The troops successfully rescued 180 citizens, 42 female students, eight staff and 130 male students.
“However, about 30 students, a mix of males and females, are yet to be accounted for. Some of the rescued students were injured and are presently receiving medical attention at a military facility,” Aruwan said.
He, however, said Governor Nasir El-Rufai, on receiving the report, thanked the troops for their swift response and rescue of the 180 citizens and wished the injured students a speedy recovery.