The State Security Service (SSS) has warned Nigerian parents that bandits may abduct and recruit their children during the Christmas period.
“As schools vacate and students return home for holidays, there is likelihood that subversive gangs will target them for recruitment for undesirable intents,” the secret police said in a statement by its spokesperson Peter Afunanya.
The SSS listed other crimes children could be recruited for to include armed robbery, financial crimes, substance abuse, violent protests and civil disobedience.
It also advised parents and guardians to ensure that their children and wards do not engage in activities against the law.
“Aside (from) students, recessing members of National Assembly/State Houses of Assembly and other public/private sector workers on vacation may be predisposed to threats of various degrees,” the statement added. “This also applies to Nigerians who may travel from within and outside the country to join their loved ones for the celebrations.”
Over the past years, there have been violent attacks across Nigeria, particularly on Sokoto, Niger, Benue, Katsina, and Benue communities, as bandits kill and abduct residents.
In November, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court declared bandits terrorists after much pressure from citizens, lawmakers, activists and rights organisations.
Earlier this year, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina lamented bandits recruited youths with N5,000 and a supply of drugs.
“Here, the bandits have infiltrated the communities recruiting young men with as low as N5,000 along with drugs and other intoxicants. We must stop the culture of not reporting criminals because of tribal or family affiliations,” Mr Masari had said.