The Niger State Commissioner for Education, Hannatu Jibrin Salihu, has said no school has been shut in recent times as a result of rumoured attacks by bandits.
The commissioner was reacting to reports attributed to the Chairman of the Wushishi Local Government Area, Danjuma Nalango, who was quoted to have said that he ordered the closure of all public and private schools in the council area over planned attacks by bandits on schools in Zungeru and neighbouring communities.
Dauda, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on Saturday, said no school was closed as a result of planned bandits’ attacks, adding that all schools closed on Friday,
The commissioner stated, “I am unaware of what you are saying; we didn’t close any school as a result of planned banditry attacks in the state in this period.
“Schools were supposed to close for Christmas and New Year on Friday and that was what happened.”
She stated that the state had about a year ago shut down schools that were at high risk for attacks by bandits, noting that at the moment not a single school had been shut.
“About a year ago, we shut down some schools that were actually high risk schools for such attacks, but after that, we haven’t shut down any other school as a result of planned attacks by bandits,” she added.
The council chairman had stated that there was an intelligence report by the security agencies that bandits in their numbers were planning to strike at Niger State Polytechnic and the Government Girls’ Day Secondary School, both located on the outskirts of Zungeru town.
According to him, the closure of the schools is to forestall a repeat of what happened in Tegina, where Islamiyyh pupils were abducted.
“The decision to close the schools was as a result of banditry activities in the local government,” he said.
Nalango stated that he was informed about the planned attacks by security agents, adding that the information was classified.
He said, “Security agencies brought the planned attacks to my notice and even that of the governor that they had intercepted communication on a plan to abduct schoolchildren in my local government.
“The communication they intercepted particularly pointed to Zungeru as the area of the planned attack.”