Will Dapchi school girls’ abduction affect school enrolment in North-east?



Recent reports on school enrolment in the North-eastern part of the country indicated some improvement, following the feats achieved by the Nigerian military over Boko Haram. But with the abduction of Dapchi school girls last week, parents have expressed fears that the development will affect school enrolment. SADIQ ABUBAKAR reports
Contradictory figures of missing Dapchi students
As parents and guardians await the return of their remaining abducted schoolgirls from Government Girls Secondary School Chibok in Chibok LGA of Borno state, about four years ago, that they were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists, another abduction of about 110 school girls occured last week in Yobe state, at Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, in Bursari LGA of Yobe. Initially, the ugly incident was trailed by contradictory figures on the actual number of students missing, as the military circulated a different figure from what the school authorities have. Also, a different figure of missing students was presented by the state government.

Dislodged from Sambisa forests
And according to reports, since the genesis of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast, Dapchi town has never been attacked except for last week, after the terrorists were said to have been degraded and their armory dislodged from the Sambisa forest rendering the Boko Haram almost incapacitated. And most people interviewed wondered why school girls are target of Boko Haram attacks and abduction.
Last four years, it was the Chibok GGSS schoolgirls and now, the Dapchi GGSTC schoolgirls.
Our Borno Correspondent talked to some parents on the schoolgirls’ abduction in government girls’ schools in Borno and Yobe states.

A school teacher’s view
A school teacher, Malam Kolomi Abatcha, a parent of 10 children, who resides in Modaganari area of Maiduguri, said, “The students have been cheated and their teachers are also traumatized just like the parents”.
“I will not henceforth send any of my children to any government boarding school far away from me again. Henceforth my children in secondary schools will be in day to be coming home after lessons daily rather than being in boarding school permanently,” Abatcha said.

A mother of four daughters
Madam Dorothy Amos, a mother of four daughters and a beauty saloon operator at Old GRA, Maiduguri, said, “The entire attacks and insurgency are full of politics. There is political undertone in the whole ball game.”
“No security operatives attached or stationed in the schools despite the fact that everybody knows that the Boko Haram insurgents are everywhere in Borno and Yobe states, even as some are said to be on the run.
“So, leaving the students alone in school without security operatives with them has a political undertone. Why will governments leave the students alone in school without security, knowing that Boko Haram people are ruthless with their hate against western education,” Dorothy said.
A Butcher in Gomari Market, Ibrahim Adamu Mai Suya, said, “Anyway, the situation will not stop parents from sending their wards to school to learn, but henceforth we will be very careful and be on the watch out properly.
“We will also not allow our children to go to school in a far distance again, not to talk of even being in boarding school far away from home. It is risky and frustrating if not threatening to both the parents and students”, Ibrahim said.

A trader’s view
Malam Aliyu Musa, a trader and shop owner in Gomari area of Maiduguri, said, “I don’t think it is proper and ideal for parents to send their children to schools in boarding schools henceforth especially, those secondary schools and colleges that are located far away from the parents and their guardians”
While Alhaji Hassan Bwala , a commercial driver shuttling Maiduguri and Damaturu, Yobe state said, “ it is good to send children to school, but it is another thing parents should think about the safety of their children.”
“So, I suggest that we should not be sending out children to school very far away from us and even to stay in school again as the issue of security in schools today is questionable with the insurgency on ground and the Boko Haram insurgents being chased by the Nigerian military.

Civil servant
Malam Balami Bukar, a civil servant with the Borno state government was of the opinion that the issue of abduction of school girls by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno and Yobe is political and threatens the life of the students as well as disrupt their academic and future.
He argued that some of the students could live throughout their lifetime psychological traumatized despite the psycho social training and remedies from the government ad NGO’s.
Balami maintained that unless government took drastic measures to ensure that adequate security was provided in schools particularly, boarding schools, there is still a vacuum to be filled for good, safe and peaceful learning environment for the students and even the teachers, Hence, some teachers are also traumatized and their children are also exposed to all these incidences
A parent of five students schooling in both government day and boarding secondary schools in Borno and Yobe states, Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed, working in Maiduguri with one of the NGOs, said, “ As far as I am concern, education of my children is paramount and most important thing in my life. I am a father and all my resources and earnings are for their education. As such, I cannot afford to toy around with their education, because I know the value of education.
“I am educated and now working. So, my children will get good education even it is not government school but as for the issue of abduction of children in school in Borno and Yobe states.

Security and safety of children in schools
“In fact the issue is serious which government must take drastic measures to address by providing security and ensure safety of our children in schools but that will not stop us as parents from sending our children to school except we have to be careful which school to send them and how to do it”, Mohammed said.
“However, I will ensure that my children go to a school that has adequate security both internal and external and the school authorities monitor the movement of my children whether such school is a public or private or whether such school is in Borno sate or Yobe state.
“It does not matter as far as the learning environment or school environment is secured and safe for my children to study. I will spend money to see that they go to school no matter what, but security is provided for them to learn”, Abdullahi added.

IDP
But an IDP parent from kukawa town of Kukwaw LGA, Borno state, resident of Maiduguri host community, Malam Mustapha Aisami, said,”With the insecurity situation on ground, I am scared and cannot send my daughter or son to school outside the state or live there, allow him or her to stay in the hostel or school without coming back home for me to see them.”
“Gone are the days we sent our children to learn no matter the distance they will go and acquire knowledge. Today, the story is different with the Boko Haram attacks on schools and subsequent abductions of our daughters and forcing them into marriage, as well as raping them.
“Many school girls have been raped and killed. Some forcefully married to Boko Haram insurgents. No sensible or reasonable parent or guardian will allow that or pray such to happen to his children. We only pray that things should change ad improve with government interventions”, Aisami said.

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