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Tegina Community: Are They Not Nigerians?

This is the sorry Tale of a certain seemingly forgotten community of Tegina in Rafi local government area of Niger State.

It was reported on the 31 of May 2021 how armed bandits on motor bike raided the community and abducted about 200 children from the Salihu Tanko Islamic school. An official was even reportedly killed in the process and another badly wounded.

The Niger state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, was also reported to have expressed outrage at the escalating level of banditry in the state and called on the federal government for prompt intervention.

Bello had also appealed for calm and restated the government’s resolve to continue to protect the lives and property of the citizens as a matter of utmost importance and priority. He also assured that a joint military task force was already working to track the kidnappers.

The Bandits asked for 50-million-naira Ransome. The community contributed 20 million naira and gave to bandits as first installment. Later they sold everything sellable to raise the balance of the 30 million. Even the Islamiyya school was not spared. 2/3 of the school area was also sold out to raise the money.

The district head, the parents and the school met and delegated persons to deliver the balance of the 30 million naira.

The delegation took the money to the bandits in the bush. 2 hours passed by. 4 hours followed. No delegate no children. 6 hours later, the Bandits ‘sent message.

The delegates that delivered the money are also now held hostage. This is because, according to the bandits, after counting the money, it was discovered that it was short of 2.4 million.

Therefore, for that shortage, the bandits demanded for 8 bikes, completion of the money and 6 million fine.

The parents and the community having nothing else to sell, painfully decided that the bandits can have the children forever while they consign their fate in the hands of God.

But in all this, Tegina never cried of being a forgotten community, they never claimed being a highly marginalized society. They never voiced being hated. They never even talked of the government and the government never talk about them. If you don’t have media on your side, no one knows your worries!

This is the fate of most interior and infamous communities especially in the northern part of Nigeria where the frequency of kidnappings is on the rise.

Abduction is fast becoming a growing industry amid the nation’s economic crisis and sadly, the victims are increasingly schoolchildren and University students – not just the rich or famous.

Armed groups have repeatedly attacked schools and universities in northwest Nigeria, kidnapping more than 700 students for ransom since December last year.

May God be the voice of the voiceless.

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