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Why I withdrew my children from public school ~ el-Rufai

By Odira Nwachukwu

The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has given reasons why he had to withdraw his children from public schools in the state.

el-Rufai had in 2019 made a public show of the registration of his son Abubakar Al-Sadiq el-Rufai in Kaduna Capital School in fulfillment of his campaign promise.

The governor had secretly withdrawn his son and daughter from the school – one of the oldest public schools in northern Nigeria due to fears of bandits attack and possible kidnap.

But the Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the governor, Muyiwa Adekeye denied comments when Daily Trust sought a clarification on the withdrawal.

However, Governor El-Rufai in an interview with BBC Pidgin, has now confirmed that he was forced to withdraw his children from the public school based on security challenges.

He said that he took the step based on the recommendation of security agents.

“My son and my daughter are registered in the school because his sister became six and we had to register her.

“But we have had to temporarily withdraw them for the security of the school because we got intercepts from at least two groups that are planning to attack the school to kidnap my son.

“I don’t think they will succeed because there will be enough security there to prevent it but other children may be placed in danger.

“We have no idea what weapons they will come with. I have taken a stand against paying bandits and at least three groups of bandits have been intercepted planning to go to Kaduna Capital school and kidnap my son and ‘see if they catch my son, I go say I no go pay ransom?’” the governor said.

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He assured that his decision was not a backtrack on his promise to the people of Kaduna but purely to keep other children in the school safe as the criminals had made the particular public school a high-profile target because his children were attending the school.

“We believe in leading by example, we believe in whatever policy we propose that will affect people negatively, we start imposing it on us,” he said.

The governor said however that his son is still registered with the school and goes to take his exams, adding that he has not been registered in another school but is being home-schooled.

He assured that when the security risk averted, the children will return to Kaduna Capital school.

“It is my intention that my children will be in public school as long as I am governor here.

“Of course, when I finish my term, I will move out. I intend to leave Kaduna when I finish. I am not going to stay here. I may explore other options of putting them in other schools,” he said.

He said his son who is missing his friends in school dearly keeps asking when he will go back to school.

“He keeps asking, ‘Baba, when will I go back to school, I miss my friends, I miss my teachers’ I told him not yet, you can’t tell a seven-year-old you are likely to be kidnapped,” El-Rufai said.

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