Former President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on all Nigerians to dedicate the International Day of Education, Monday, 24th January to victims of bullying.
In a statement released by his Media Office in Abuja, Saraki denounced the recent trend of bullying, abduction, assault, and murder of school children by schoolmates, teachers, and kidnappers, and called for concerted efforts at the state and federal levels to curb such violence.
The statement read:
“As a father, over the past few months, I have struggled to contain my grief and anger regarding the frequency of reports of assaults, abductions, and even murder of young Nigerian school children.
“Across the country, five to seven days a week, parents entrust their children to school systems with the hope that these children will receive an education and come back home safely. However, when we read the stories of young Sylvester Omoroni, Hanifa Abubakar, Keren Happuch Akpagher, and so many others, it is clear that schools that should be safe-zones for young innocent Nigerians, are no longer as secure.
“This is why, as we commemorate International Day of Education, all of us in Nigeria must find it in ourselves to say a prayer for the families of these young school children. Today should be dedicated to them and should serve as a painful remembrance that we must do better to protect our young people.
“Moving forward, we must make concerted efforts to enact stronger punitive measures that will serve as a deterrent to those that may wish to harm any student on school premises, or any child that is left in the care of an adult as they seek an education.
“We must also create policies that will ensure that there is greater awareness about the dangers of bullying in our schools, and not look at the recent cases that have been in the news as isolated incidents.
“As parents who went through the Nigerian primary and secondary school system, we will be doing a great disservice to the next generation if we do not begin to advocate for stronger measures that will make all our children feel safe when they are going to school.
“I am hopeful that moving forward, governments across the nation will heed this call and take immediate action to rectify this menace holistically. May the Almighty God grant all the young school children that we have lost to these incidents eternal rest. May their deaths not be in vain,” the former Senate President stated.