The Benue State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) has said that at least 10, 000 pupils have been forced out of schools in two Local Government Areas of the state which came under attack by gunmen on New Year’s Day.
Chairman of the Board, Rev Philip Tachin, on Sunday in Makurdi said schools were affected as many families fled their homes alongside children to take stay in different camps following the invasion of Guma and Logo LGAs of the state by gunmen.
Tachin lamented that the move has become a serious setback to the board which recently embarked on massive campaign for increase enrolment of pupils into public primary schools in the state at the commencement of new academic session few months ago.
He said it was disheartening to see hundreds of school children forced out of school by the invasion of suspected herders on some communities in Guma and Logo area when he paid a visit to the camp few days ago to donate relief materials.
"The Executive Secretary of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) gave me a staggering statistics of children numbering 2,050 who are locked up in this camp in Gbajimba. Apart from these children from the rural areas that have been camped here, the primary school in Gbajimba has also been shut down in order to accommodate the refugees since there are no enough IDPs camps.
"This is the multiplier effect of this genocidal operation. There are six IDPs camps in these two affected local governments and if the statistics of these school children are the same across the IDPs camps, over 10,000 children have been forced out of school," he said.
According to him, the development was ironical to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)’s intensive effort to mop up out of school children which SUBEB had since duplicated in the state.
Tachin worried that the gunmen who apparently have no value for education were on a mission to destroy education, adding that, If the Federal Government cannot be decisive in putting a stop to the unethical manner of dehumanising human beings, then its efforts in education is a mere waste of resources.
"Many schools have been affected though we are yet to ascertain whether school buildings have been destroyed the same way they do to houses in villages. We met one of the cops that were attacked by the armed herdsmen and he confirmed that they were Fulani herdsmen.
"They were heavily armed and were among their cattle. The federal government should be honest by not playing politics with this serious security problem because it is capable of conflagration. We want one Nigeria and we shouldn’t be pushed to a divided country," Tachin concluded.