Nigeria’s education minister Ibrahim Shekarau has inflicted mental injuries on several families planning to travel to their home states before the general elections expected to take off on February 14: Parents could only travel without their kids in school.
He announced on national television, on Monday, that no school should be closed in advance of the polls. He ordered that schools that had scheduled their mid-term break for the period should cancel the idea.
The minister assured parents that adequate security arrangements will be made during the polls, advising everyone to stay in their cities of residence.
Shekarau’s announcement has shocked many residents of Abuja and most northern cities that have been waiting for schools to close before travelling with their children.
Despite the announcement, however, parents told Eyeway that they would withdraw their kids from school for the period of the elections expected to lead to crises especially in some northern states. Some wanted to know where Shekarau’s own children were residing and whether the same security arrangement he was making for them would also be available to other children whose parents were not ministers.
Assurances of safety given by Nigerian public functionaries have often turned out to be misleading. Over 200 girls abducted from Chibok on April 14, 2014, have not been found despite similar assurances. Nor have 20, 000 people killed so far by insurgents in the north been resurrected after assurances of security by Nigerian public officials like Shekarau whose children are either abroad or in fortified schools in the country.

Private schools are not likely to listen to Shekarau, however. Only public schools attended by mainly the poor’s children may be forced to keep both the poor and their children in danger-prone areas of the country.

Almost 2, 000 people were killed in post-election riots in 2011.

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