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A Spate of Kidnappings Forces Officials to Close Schools

Authorities in Nigeria’s Niger state have shut all public secondary schools for two weeks from Friday. Hajiya Hannatu Jibrin Salihu who heads the education ministry in the state said the two weeks closure was to give security agencies “the time and opportunity to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment”. More than 20 schools in the state had been shut following the abduction of 27 boys and their teachers from a secondary school in the Kagara area of the state last month. That kidnapping had been followed by the abduction of more than 250 girls from a secondary school in nearby Zamfara state, where some schools have also been shut since the incident. Kano, Yobe and Katsina states in northern Nigeria have also shut some secondary schools recently because of criminals who target students in a growing kidnap-for-ransom crisis. Thursday’s announcement by the Niger state government was after a meeting with various security agencies. Ms Salihu said the aim of shutting the schools was to provide “strategies that will restore and guarantee sustainable security and safety of students, school infrastructure, education managers and teachers in the state”.