PLATEAU STATE SHUTS SCHOOLS OVER BANDIT’S ATTACKS, PARENTS LAMENT
No fewer than eight schools have been shut down in Plateau State over attacks and killings by bandits, The PUNCH learnt on Sunday.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the schools shut down include the LEA Primary School, Pinau community; LEA Primary School, Gumbi; LEA Primary School in Bangalala community, as well as the LEA Primary School in New Zak community, all in the Wase Local Government Area of the state.
Other schools shut down, according to findings, include those in Sanfio and Dogo Ruwa communities, as well as the primary school located in Yaje Lawal community in the same Wase LGA, among others.
The PUNCH had reported that bandits had been terrorising residents of Wase LGA in the past months with the latest being an attack by gunmen on Nyalun community which led to the killing of the village
head, Salisu Idris, and two other residents last week.
Some parents in the affected communities, who spoke with The PUNCH in Jos on Sunday, lamented the situation, describing the closure of the schools as unfortunate.
A parent, Baba Yusuf, who had his two children in the LEA Primary School, Pinau community, before the school was shut down following the activities of bandits, said since the schools were closed, their children had been stranded without knowing where to go to continue their education.
Yusuf said, “I have two children in LEA Primary School in Pinau, but they have stopped going to school because the school was closed as a result of insecurity. I think the primary school was closed to save the children from harm because some bandits have been terrorists us here.
“It is not only in Pinau community, the same thing is happening in other communities in Wase which made them to close down the schools as well. Since last term when the schools were closed, they have not been reopened even when other schools resumed for a fresh term in September this year . So, right now that is the situation as we find it and our children are stranded without knowing where to go.”
The Executive Chairman of the Plateau State Universal Basic Education Board, Prof. Mathew Sule, in an interview with The PUNCH also confirmed the shutting down of the schools due to insecurity.
Sule said, “Yes, it is true. In about five schools in Wase communities, learning isn’t taking place there right now because of the security challenge we are having in those communities.
“The children did not sit for exams last term on account of what was happening because we had to close down the schools before we ended the third term and the affected schools are yet to be reopened. So, we are waiting for the situation to improve before the children can be brought back to the affected schools. But we have asked that the children be moved to safer areas where there are schools to enable them continue with their education.”
When contacted, the spokesman for the Military Task Force, Operation Safe Haven, in charge of maintaining peace in the state, Capt. Oya James, said everything was being done to address the security problem in Wase and other parts of the state.
James said, “As I’m talking with you now, troops of Operation Safe Haven are still there in Wase for clearance operation. Even last week, we had an airstrike in that same Wase. So, we are doing our best to address this problem of banditry in Wase LGA.”
The Military spokesman appealed to the people to assist the task force and other security agents with timely information about the activities of the terrorists to enable them perform their duties.
“All we need from the communities is timely information given the nature of banditry which is not a conventional warfare. What they (bandits) do is to attack their target in the communities and disappear within a short time. Because of this, we have given out numbers for the people to call anytime they notice the presence of the bandits in their communities so that the security agents can act accordingly. So, we need the cooperation of the communities in this regard to enable us defeat the bandits,” the military spokesman said.