The pan-northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, on Saturday expressed concern over the killing of a five-year-old pupil, Hanifa Abubakar, by her teacher in a private school in Kano State.
Besides, the ACF expressed disgust over the death of Sylvester Oromoni, a 12- year-old pupil of Dowen College, allegedly bullied, tortured to death by fellow students in December 2021.
Of grave concern too, according to the northern body, was act of bullying in government and even military schools where pupils are bullied to join “cult” groups or indulge in “homosexual” acts.
The ACF frowned on the development, urging the federal and state governments to act forcefully and nip the trend in the bud.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Emmanuel Yawe, released in Kaduna.
The statement is titled, ‘ACF shocked at school bullying, killings’.
It read, “The Arewa Consultative Forum wishes to express its shock and revulsion over the anti-social and criminal acts going on in Nigerian schools. These border on bullying, murder, kidnapping, homosexuality, cultism etc.
“The latest of these cases of horror is the alleged kidnap and murder of five-year-old pupil, Hanifa Abubakar, by her teacher, Abdulmalik Muhammed, at a private school in Kwanar Dakatar in Kano State.
“He is alleged to have kidnapped the young girl, his student and taken her to his house where he demanded for a ransom of N6m after which he killed her.
“This is a horror story comparable to what happened in December last year when Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, was bullied and then tortured to death by his fellow students because he refused to join them in their cult activities.
“The Arewa Consultative Forum would like to call the attention of the authorities to this new epidemic of drugs, brutality, cults and death which is taking over all schools across the country and endangering the lives of our daughters, sons and the future of our country.”
Saying the horror wasn’t limited to private schools, the forum noted that they were “particularly concerned about what goes on in private schools because they take their students as commodities which should be traded for moneyAccording to the ACF, this is a horrible trend that will not only destroy the future of these innocent children but that of our Nigeria.
“We call on our governments to step in forcefully and nip this trend in the bud,” it said.
The ACF also added that governments too must look into schools owned by them, saying, “Our children have reported to us similar acts of bullying in government and even in military schools where they are been bullied to join cult groups or indulge in homosexual acts or adopt homosexuality as a way of time.”
Against this backdrop, the northern elders warned the government “to save the Nigerian children who have been trapped in this web of inhumanity created by school teachers, proprietors and administrators.”
Also reacting, the Coalition of Northern Group, decried the dastardly act.
The group’s spokesperson, Mr Adul-Azeez Suleiman, in a chat with Sunday PUNCH, said, “The killing of Hanifa, a schoolgirl, by her school teacher attests to the extent to which school children are exposed to danger and vulnerabilities.
“It also further deepens the level of distrust in the society to the point of uncertainty over the trust reposed by parents in their teachers.
“The teacher who is supposed to be a guardian to the children entrusted in his care has now turned a predator. As a group, the CNG demands immediate and transparent justice for little Hanifa. We shall press for justice and deterrent action against a recurrence.
“This latest attack on education in the North, even though by inside actor, confirms our concerns that the typology of the unrests in the North and the dimension that they are taking are symptoms of a wider agenda to diminish the educational, economic and political viability of the region.”