A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION ON THE ACADEMIC IMPACT OF VARSITY STUDENTS ABDUCTION IN ZAMFARA
1.1 Background of the Study
The primary outcome of formal education is academic achievement, as stated by Moore (2019). This achievement plays a crucial role in attaining higher education objectives, as emphasised by Zhou and Mustappha (2022). To ensure that students have access to comprehensive modules and instructional strategies that facilitate their educational progress, the Nigerian Ministry of Education has implemented various initiatives aimed at enhancing school performance, as highlighted by Govindarajoo et al. (2022). The aforementioned objective is in accordance with the strategic objectives of the Nigerian government, which aims to emphasis the development of human capital in order to achieve high-income status by the year 2025. Therefore, it is essential for the education system to cultivate and generate a pool of highly trained individuals who has the capacity to meet the demands of various industries. The achievement of these aims may be hindered by the ongoing and frequent abductions of university students in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern area.
Similarly, student abduction has become an unpleasant social problem, affecting the victims' peace of mind and personal liberty in Nigeria. These abductions has impacted academic advancement, self-reliance, and national development in the majority of Nigeria's northeast higher institutions of learning. According to Adeniran & Castradori (2021), abduction, kidnapping, and hostage-taking have all existed since the beginning of time and this dysfunctional practice has lately been identified as a societal sin in Nigeria. Given the vast number of students who are surprisingly involved, abduction looks to be one of the most technical and lucrative criminal cases in Nigeria. Sanni (2015) stated that Nigeria's north-east region has been heavily impacted by abductions, suicide bombings, kidnappings, and attacks by militant groups, particularly the Boko Haram group, which is accountable for the region having the worst levels of girl child illiteracy in the country. Subsequently, lowering levels of education can be linked to the country's instability according to Onyido (2019),. One of the most important concerns affecting the Nigerian school system is abduction, which is part of the country's security challenges. The consequences of kidnapping can be seen in the lack of progress, self-reliance, and development in the Nigerian educational system.
Conceptually, abduction also referred to as kidnapping is defined as removing or confining an individual against their will without the legal authority to do so. Student abduction has become common, according to Odumbo, Shittu, Akinyemi, and Momoh (2017), as cited by Nwankwo, Onuoha, and Ezeji (2021), and the high frequency of insecurity in student kidnapping has portended peril for the nation's peace, prosperity, and progress. Major issues that contribute to secondary school student abduction are economic depression, poverty, moral decadence, a low standard of living, a high cost of living, inflation, graduate unemployment, poor parental upbringing, greed among the youth, a get-rich-quick mentality, insufficient crime control, and insecurity.The importance of education in societal development cannot be overemphasized. No country can meet its true potential if the educational sector is not developed. It is an essential tool in ensuring the acquisition of power, prestige, greatness as well as survival of the human race. It is the foundation for nation building (Mustapha, 2019).
Furthermore, it is seen that education is an essential aspect of human and capital development (Olowolagba, 2021). However, this is not the case presently as the continous abduction of students have put the educational activities on hold as students are now scared to go to their various schools.
Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to investigate on the academic impact of varsity students abduction in Zamfara.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
According to Adeniran and Castradori (2021), during a span of less than three months from December 2020 to March 2021, a total of over 600 students were abducted while attending school, in three distinct occurrences. Of more concern is the observation that the increased state of insecurity is mostly prevalent in the northern region of Nigeria, an area that already has educational disadvantages. Out of the approximate 10.5 million children that are not enrolled in schools throughout the nation, it is seen that 69 percent of them are from the Northern region. This particular region is characterized by cultural practices and economic disadvantages that hinder children's active engagement in educational institutions. The area is significantly impacted by the insurgent actions of Boko Haram, which have severe consequences for both the economic and education institutions. The current surge in school abductions has a significant likelihood of eroding community and family confidence in the education system. There is a potential for a substantial decrease in literacy rates, which might exacerbate the issue of limited access to high-quality and fair education. Moreover, in light of the protracted suspension of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian education system is now through a process of recovery. However, the introduction of security concerns as an additional problem has the potential to result in an irreversible collapse of the system (Adeniran & Castradori, 2021). It is in the light of these that the study seeks to investigate the academic impact of varsity students abduction in Zamfara.
1.3 Objective of the study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the academic impact of varsity students abduction in Zamfara Specifically, the study will;
1. Find out the reason behind the abduction of varsity students in Zamfara State.
2. Determine the impact of abduction on the academic achievement of varsity students in Zamfara State.
3. Investigate the role of government in curbing the abduction of varsity students in Zamfara State.
4. Examine the challenges faced by Zamfara State government in ensuring the safety of varsity students.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
1. What are the reasons behind the abduction of varsity students in Zamfara State?
2. What is the impact of abduction on the academic achievement of varsity students in Zamfara State?
3. What is the role of the government in curbing the abduction of varsity students in Zamfara State?
4. What are the challenges faced by Zamfara State government in ensuring the safety of varsity students?
1.6 Significance of the study
A critical investigation on the academic impact of varsity students abduction in Zamfara will be revealed to government at various levels, stakeholders involved in education policies, teachers, school management, media houses and students in this study. It will additionally enlighten policy makers on the degree at which insecurity has affected the educational activities in the northern region, especially in Zamfara State. The findings of the study will propose recommendations toward curbing the spate of insecurity in the Northern part of Nigeria.
Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard a critical investigation on the academic impact of varsity students abduction in Zamfara.
1.7Scope of the study
The scope of this study is boarded on critical investigation on the academic impact of varsity students abduction in Zamfara.
Theoretically, this study will discuss the reason behind the abduction of varsity students, determine the impact of abduction on the academic achievement of varsity students in Zamfara State, investigate the role of government in curbing the abduction of varsity students in Zamfara State and examine the challenges faced by Zamfara State government in ensuring the safety of varsity students.
Geographically, the study will be delimited to undergraduate students in Gusau local government, Zamfara state, Nigeria.
1.8 Limitation of the study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.
1.9 Definition of terms
Abduction : the action of taking someone away by force or deception.
Varsity students: a student enrolled in a college or university