1. Crisis in Education as Violence Forces Thousands Out of School



Many schools across Nigeria are preparing for the new school year, but are facing the challenge of how to deal with the encroaching attacks by terrorists across various states. States that have been particularly affected include Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Bauchi. Plateau and Taraba, among others. In a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, it was revealed that the number of school age children in the republic who are not attending school is around 20 million in 2022, up sharply from 12.5 million in 2021. This has sparked a call for urgent intervention by the federal government, to deal with the instability so children can return to school. In Kaduna State, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union has said that about 500 schools have been either shut down, abandoned or destroyed because of the unceasing attacks on the local communities in the state since 2019. In an interview, a representative from the People’s Union, Mr. Luka Biniyat, said that across 200 communities in Southern Kaduna, all schools, both primary and secondary, which had been targeted by armed herdsmen, had been closed. “In my village, Zamandabo Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, which was attacked twice last year, the Day Secondary School there and the two primary schools remain shut down. The villages that confronted the situation and refused to vacate soon found that no teacher was willing to go to the schools to teach. So, we have kids, who left home when they were five years old, which was not the ripe age for admission into public schools in Kaduna State. today, they are 10 years old and have never been to school, because they have become internally displaced with their parents.” He implored Governor Nasir El-Rufai to empower the people to be able to defend themselves, to be able to prepare themselves before an attack takes place, and if not, that a state of emergency should be declared. “In the interim, we are calling on the United Nations Children’s Education Fund to come to the assistance of our stranded schoolchildren. Many of them are suffering from food and nutrition deficiency. I cannot give you a specific number of schools that have been shut down now, even if you go to the State Universal Basic Board (SUBEB), they cannot give you the exact number of schools that are closed. I know so many schools have been shut down and many primary school pupils can no longer go to school as a result of threats and insecurity. Birnin Gwari and Kajuru are the two most volatile local government areas that are worst hit by this banditry, and some parts of Giwa and Chikun local government areas are also affected too. Some of the schools were not totally shut down, some schools closed down for some weeks, while others closed down for some months and reopened again. It all depends on the nature of the security problems.”

In Niger State, some nine schools have been shut down due to insecurity in the region. according to State Ministry of Education Public Relations Officer, Jibrin Kodo, confirmed that in Niger State, 18 schools were initially closed and pupils integrated into other schools until the situation improves, and they are now left, as of last month, with nine schools still unready to open for the new school year, and the situation will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Benue state has also suffered from the violence from armed herdsmen. Governor Samuel Ortom has on several occasions claimed that about two million people are in IDP camps across the state. Dr. Emmanuel Shior, Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, has said that many of the IDP’s are children of school going age. “Many schools across Benue State are shut down on account of Fulani herdsmen attacks. Majority of the schoolchildren are in IDP camps and are receiving education through the Emergency Education Programme provided by the Benue State Government with the support of other humanitarian partners as well as volunteers. It’s difficult to reopen the schools now because the Fulani herdsmen’s attacks have continued, especially in the rural communities, where the schools have been shut down.”

In Zamfara State, over 100 schools in various parts of the state are shut down. Mr. Labbo Hassan, chairperson of the NUT, had this to say: “It should be more than 75 (schools). About 106 schools were shut down due to insecurity. They (terrorists) have made most of the schools their accommodation sites. They go out, do what they want and return to the schools. Most of the residents left the places and those who are there have to be loyal to the terrorists and work for them. If they (residents) want to go to their farms and work freely, they pay some money. Notwithstanding that, when they crops are mature, the terrorists can seize them.”

An educationalist, Mr. Aniedi Akpan, has asked government to fix insecurity as it had caused many children to be forced out of school. “The rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria is alarming and that trend is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue. Many Nigerian families cannot afford education because of poverty. Nigerians account for most of the poor people in the world. People frequently complain that our leaders lack education and cannot understand the value of education. What will happen is that Nigeria’s cycle will continue, and our next generation of leaders will not have any education. In a short time, illiterates will rule and live in Nigeria, and that should be a matter of concern to the ruling class.”


2. Allegations of Brutality by Nigerian Army Against Civilians in South East



The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law has pointed the finger at the Nigerian military, saying it is compromising its neutrality by collaborating with Fulani Jihadists to terrorise the Eastern part of Nigeria, particularly Benue State. Intersociety made this accusation in a statement released 2 September 2022. Part of the statement reads: “Strong accusations by Intersociety abound against the Nigerian Military concerning the above. Since 2016, Intersociety had remained firmly consistent in strongly accusing the Nigerian Military, especially the Nigerian Army, of heavily compromising its neutrality and non-partisanship doctrine by being remotely behind the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen terrorism in the East and Benue State. Intersociety had embarked on series of field trips in the South-East and the South-South following the Nigerian Military’s camouflaged military operations in the two regions, partly code-named ‘Operation Python Dance.’ We had followed the patterns and trends of troops’ deployments during the deceitful military exercises and found out that such deployments were coded with military protected mass movements of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen into strategic Eastern forests, bushes and farmlands. These were to the extent that new military and police checkpoints were created to protect the Jihadists in their new settlements, in addition to settling them near existing military and Police formations and in the end, it was found that out of every five military roadblocks or formations, camouflaged herders and their herds of cattle are found or sighted nearby”.

The military protected Jihadists invasion was also fuelled by a 2015 alleged Nigerian Military forest/bush mapping exercise across the country as well as the introduction of the Nigerian Army/Military Ranching policy. The group also alleged that some state governors were instrumental to the invasion and terrorism in the east. Emergence of stooges or surrogates as Governors in some States also aided their invasion and terrorism in Eastern Nigeria to date. Intersociety had identified no fewer than 700 bush/forest/farmland locations in the East, Benue and Kogi States as ‘newly occupied areas by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen.”


3. Latest Attacks



Suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked a community in the Guma Local Government Area of Benue state on Saturday, killing three people. A resident of the Umella village, in Tse Numgbera, said, “The herders arrived around 4:20pm on Saturday when people were enjoying the pleasant weather and disrupted our peace. Three people were killed during the invasion.” the Security Secretary of the Mbawa Council Ward, Mr Waku Christopher, confirmed the attacks and death. “It is true, three people were killed by Fulani herdsmen in their homes at Numgbera on Saturday at around 4:20pm.” https://punchng.com/herders-invade-benue-community-kill-three-villagers/

Rivers State- residents of Bille community, in the Degema Local Government Area, have reportedly abandoned their homes after being attacked by soldiers, who invaded their community, in an apparent retaliation of the killing of some soldiers by suspected pirates. According to a resident who fled and is in hiding, the soldiers shot sporadically, and also broke into homes in an effort to intimidate residents. “Some military men came with gun boats. They said they were looking for pirates that attacked their soldiers. We also lost one of our sons from the pirate attack last Friday. Just yesterday they invaded a nearby community. Today they invaded the Bille community. I am calling from my hideout. Many people have left the community. They are harassing youths, flogging and injuring people. As I speak to you, they are shooting sporadically in the community and people have fled. The place is empty.” Major Iweha Ikedichi, spokesperson for 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt, confirmed the soldiers were in the area, but not for the purpose of terrorising the locals. “Troops conducted an operation in the general area of Bille and that is in response to the killing of soldiers in and around that community last week. The operation is consequent upon that, and targeted at arresting perpetrators and recovering the stolen weapons of the troops that were killed. The operation will continue following actionable intelligence as we receive.”

Stay Up-To-Date!