Since 2009, his security forces have been fighting a jihadist insurgency in the northeast, which has killed over 40,000 people and displaced over two million more.
Criminal gangs with heavy weapons have long terrorized communities and roads in northwest and central Nigeria, looting, stealing cattle, and kidnapping for ransom, but they have been increasingly targeting schools and universities since the beginning of the year.
Gunmen stormed the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna state early Monday, opening fire and overpowering security guards before abducting the majority of the 165 students boarding there overnight, according to authorities.
‘The kidnappers took away 140 students, only 25 students escaped. We
still have no idea where the students were taken’.
‘This government has failed the people of Kaduna,’ Mustapha Kumbe, father of one of the abducted students told reporters.
‘We will continue to protest until our children are bought back.’
Muhammed Jalige, a spokesperson for the Kaduna state police, acknowledged the incident but declined to say how many students were abducted.
‘We are still on the rescue mission’ He said.
Police claimed they had rescued 26 people, including a female instructor, in a safe manner.
Since December, almost 1,000 kids and pupils have been kidnapped in Nigeria. Although most have been released following discussions with local officials, several remain detained.
According to a letter from education officials, Kaduna’s state government ordered the immediate closure of 13 schools considered vulnerable to assaults on Monday.
Baptist church built Bethel Baptist High School in Maramara village,
Chikun district, outside of Kaduna, as a co-educational institution.
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state, has been one of the most outspoken local leaders, stating categorically that he will not pay the ransom.
According to authorities, the school kidnapping happened just hours after gunmen kidnapped eight medical workers from a Kaduna health center.
The criminal groups, known as bandits in the area, operate out of camps in the enormous Rugu forest, which spans Nigeria’s Zamfara, Katsina, and Kaduna states, as well as neighboring Niger.
The Nigerian air force has targeted bandit camps in the past, while some northern states have attempted to deal with the gangs by providing amnesties in exchange for disarmament.
However, numerous ceasefires have failed, and local discussions have been mostly stymied by Buhari’s administration, which has cautioned that paying the robbers would be counterproductive.