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Insurgency: Fate of girl-child education in Northeastern Nigeria

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Haruna Isa

Nigeria, the giant of Africa continent has been a relatively peaceful, multicultural, dynamic and progressive nation, blessed with human and natural resources, which paved ways for many opportunities for its citizens and foreigners’ to live in harmony from the colonial era, to the inception of Nigeria independence on October 1, 1960 to year 2000 where the country started experiencing the strange, and global trend of terrorism, insurgency which led to the gruesome killings of innocent Nigerian citizens, carryout by an insurgent group called Boko Haram.

Since 2009, they have disrupts educational system in north eastern Nigeria with huge negative effect on girls education. North eastern region of Nigeria comprises of six States namely: Adamawa State, Bauchi State, Borno State, Gombe State, Taraba Sate and Yobe State. The group dislikes girls attending schools, and also committed criminal offences ranging from kidnaping of school girls.

There had been massive destruction of school activities in north eastern Nigeria.

In recent past, they used local girls to carry out mindless bombing of major central market, shopping mall, cinema halls and bus station. They also involved in murdering of traditional rulers and prominent citizen in north eastern Nigeria. Abduction of school girls, the elderly and female teachers were also common in their recent styles of operations. Certainly, before the current insurgency, Nigeria had witnessed several forms of terrorism which is a systematic use of violence to destroy, kidnap and intimidate the innocent in order to draw national attention to their demands with the Nigerian government. However, some of these past terrorist attacks are politically motivated, even though some may have other strong motives such as socio-economic and regional marginalization issues.

The insurgent attacks have affected the girls education through direct attacks on schools.

Frequent abduction of schoolgirls from their dormitories, and occasional kidnapping of schoolgirls on their way to school, have reduced their attendance in schools drastically.

Most educational activities on girls education in the most affected states have been suspended since most teachers and school heads in region are among the internally displaced persons.
Female teachers and school girls have been traumatised, and are afraid of going to their schools on fear of attacks from insurgents. Educational planners and inspectors of girls education programme can’t conduct periodic checking on schools as most education officers in the region are also displaced.

On November 24, 2014, Boko Haram attacked Damasak, a trading town about 200 kilometers northwest of Maiduguri, near the border with Niger, blocking all four roads leading into the town and trapping residents and traders. The insurgents quickly occupied Zanna Mobarti Primary School, shutting the gates and locking more than 300 students, ages 7 to 17, inside, according to a teacher at the school and other witnesses Human Rights Watch interviewed. The Boko Haram militants then used the school as a military base, bringing scores of other women and children abducted across the town there as captives.

Experts said, the kidnapping of dozens more schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria by Boko Haram militants could undermine efforts to keep girls in schools and threaten progress on women’s education in the region.

At least 76 schoolgirls from the village of Dapchi were snatched by a faction of the Insurgent group in 2018. While some 220 girls from a Chibok school were also abducted in April 2014.

The insurgency could hinder girls’ education in Nigeria’s conservative northeast, where the majority of girls are married off before they turn 18.
Activists also fear the fresh kidnappings could undermine efforts to negotiate the release of the Chibok schoolgirls, and possibly even pave the way for more abductions by Boko Haram.

Nigeria is still haunted by the kidnapping of the Chibok girls in 2014. About 106 have been found or freed, but at least 100 are still believed to be in captivity in the northeast.

There is an urgent need for government at all levels to put more efforts by using different strategies to put to an end the meance of the insurgency in Nigeria, especially the most affected North East region.

Isa is a-seasoned Journalist and Programmes’ Producer at SAWABA FM Hadejia, Jigawa State. And can be reached at:harunaisa403@gmail.com


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