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Niger govt. threatens to sanction teacher of pupil who criticised Tinubu, sought politicians’ death in school debate

Though the Niger State Ministry of Education has threatened to sanction Master Abdulkadir’s debate coach, many Nigerians support his stance.

• February 20, 2024
Governor Umar Bago and blurred photo of Abdul-Kabiru Abdulkadir
Governor Umar Bago and blurred photo of Abdul-Kabiru Abdulkadir

Niger State government has threatened disciplinary action against teachers of a pupil who berated President Bola Tinubu’s administration over prevailing economic hardship and invoked thunder to kill Nigerian politicians impoverishing citizens.

Last week, a viral video of Abdul-Kabiru Abdulkadir, a primary five pupil of Kasimu Primary School, Agaie, speaking on Nigeria’s social, political and economic realities in a school debate emerged on the internet. 

In the video, Master Abdulkadir, who appeared to have rehearsed his debate script, lamented prevailing hunger under Mr Tinubu’s watch and how politicians impoverish the masses, invoking thunder to strike and kill thieving Nigerian politicians.

“Last year, we voted for Tinubu with the hope that things will get better. Upon his swearing-in, the first thing he did was remove fuel subsidy, throwing the whole nation into hardship,” Master Abdulkadir said. “Prices of goods and services continue to rise; Tinubu, with all his charisma, cannot handle this country the way we want.” 

Lamenting how National Assembly members are buying exotic cars amid heightened economic hardship while retired teachers are owed pensions and gratuities are dying, Master Abdulkadir said, “Oh thunder, this is the time you should strike and eliminate all of them. Or join all of them in one aeroplane so that they will all crash land and our nation will have peace.”

With Master Abdulkadir’s video still trending and many Nigerians echoing his stance, the Niger State Ministry of Education, in a statement by its spokesperson, Jibrin Usman Kodo, on Monday, condemned as vulgar and violent the pupil’s choice of words. It threatened to sanction his coach.

“The ministry, under the leadership of the Hon. Commissioner, Dr Hadiza Asabe Mohammed, emphasised the importance of promoting a positive and respectful learning environment for students and pupils at their formative age; the use of vulgar and violent languages not only reflects poor orientation for the individual pupil but also on the school and the educational system as a whole. 

“In view of the foregoing, the commissioner has vowed to investigate the incident further and take appropriate disciplinary action against those responsible for coaching the student to use such language,” the statement reads in part. 

Though the Niger State Ministry of Education has threatened to sanction Master Abdulkadir’s debate coach, many Nigerians support his stance, given the prevailing economic hardship in the country. 

On Monday, placards-carrying protesters at Mokola Roundabout remonstrated on the street with inscriptions like “End food price hike” and “This is not Hope Renewed. This is shege renewed,” chanting “Tinubu is a thief! Tinubu is a thief!.”

Similar protests had rocked Niger, Kano, Osun and Lagos, Mr Tinubu’s home state, as citizens protested over hunger and rising costs of living.

Though increment in prices of food predated Mr Tinubu’s government, its quick fuel subsidy removal and floating of the naira have seen petrol price jump from N145 to N630, shooting food prices up as the naira continue its freefall against the dollar, trading for N1,825 against a dollar on Tuesday. 

market survey by Peoples Gazette on February 7 showed that food prices have increased by over 100 per cent since Mr Tinubu assumed office last year. 

Mr Tinubu, in response to public outcry on the rising cost of food driven by skyrocketing inflation in the country, had directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of grain, including maise, millet and garri.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in a summary of its assessment of Nigeria’s economy, lauded Mr Tinubu’s government for structural reforms, scrapping fuel subsidies and floating the naira.

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