Date: July 31, 2015
By Prof. Herbert M. Eze, Special to the ASSIST News Service
MUBI, NIGERIA (ANS – July 31, 2015) -- As the academic year 2014/015 ended on Friday July 24, 2015 in Nigeria, it is necessary to tell the unfortunate story of how many schools in northeastern Nigeria with particular reference to those in Mubi, Adamawa State, had less than one term of schooling out of the three terms, due to the activities of the Boko Haram (BH) insurgents.
I have delayed in telling the story of what our school suffered amidst the crises that engulfed this part of Nigeria until I personally travelled to Mubi after it was recovered by the Joint Task Force (JTF) to see what is left of the city and its investments after the carnage.
The forces of Boko Haram entered the city of Mubi and began to unleash terror on Wednesday, October 24, 2014. I would have arrived Mubi the previous day, Tuesday, if I had not changed my travel plan to go the upper week.
Our school Supervisor arrived Mubi from Onitsha on Monday, the 22nd, and just left the school compound a few minutes on Wednesday morning before the BH struck at about 10.45 am. She escaped from where she was because coming back would be suicidal, but she called the school and warned them of the unfortunate development in the city. It was a call that helped in saving many lives although we lost some lives.
The supervisor and one of the head teachers who escaped death during the Mubi crises fled to Yola but became stranded as their journey to Onitsha was delayed for days because luxury buses were not available for their journey down south. Even when they became available, the population waiting in Yola for the journey was too much, therefore people lined up for days before it could reach their turn for the journey.
These two ladies visited me in Nnewi on Saturday, November 8, 2014, after their return from Yola and gave me first- hand account of what transpired in Mubi during the BH incident. They informed me that the school lost our Chairman of Parents Teachers Association (P.T.A), and a male parent of our school children.
Resumption date for the third term 2014/015 in Evangel Academy, Mubi, was on Monday, 27 April. I sent a text message to our key staff members to inform them, however, it was only the principal that called me on that day and reported his arrival to Mubi. For security reasons, our staff from the East and the school children from the eastern area did not respond. Even among the indigenes, it took some time before staff and school children started gradually returning to school.
General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) became president elect following the presidential and national assembly elections on 29th of April and later sworn in as president a month later. Our staff and people from the east began trickling into the city when people started to feel a bit secure after GMB was sworn in peacefully as President.
Even till the end of the term on Friday, July 24, 2015, we only had less than a-quarter of the previous school population and could hardly pay our available staff not to talk of adding the cost of my transport and other expenditures to Mubi during the trip. This accounts for my not travelling again to participate in the end of the year event scheduled for Sunday, July 26th.
I hope to be in Mubi at the beginning of next term for Teacher Education and Planning Programme (TEPP) which has been our tradition almost since the inception of Evangel Academy in 1987. However, the security situation is yet to improve following the recent killings in Askira Uba near Mubi by BH insurgents believed to have come from Sambisa forest.
We pray that President Buhari will soon deliver on his promise of defeating and totally uprooting terrorism in the country. Until then, the hope of having steady schooling in Mubi is dashed. For the whole academic year, 2014/015, we lost first and second term and the third term was incomplete. Although we may not say this for all the schools in northeastern States of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, but sure, for most of them.
If the government pay their public school staff and maintain their schools from the federation and state accounts which accrue from our oil money, taxes and other public funds, from where will private schools pay their staff and maintain their schools; especially these schools in crises affected areas which lost much/most of their population and returned to damaged and abandoned compounds? Are the staff, pupils and students in these school not Nigerians? Some financial support from the government and philanthropists, in such a time as this, will help to encourage their efforts in contributing to education in Nigeria.
Evangel Academy, Mubi, in Adamawa State has provided education in the State for nearly three decades through our Day-care, Nursery, Primary and Secondary School programs. Our vision/ proposal for a private university is only on hold due to the present crises in the northeast. We have made significant contribution towards the development of Adamawa State in various ways. (See GNAGAD/NISSGA 2014 Award, The Majesty Magazine, p. 54. Our Majesty Global Magazine, Abuja).
Our graduates serve at various places in Adamawa State and Nigeria both at the public and private sectors. Many of them are presently in higher institutions at different places in the country and overseas.
Photo captions: 1) Evangel Academy Students before the incident. 2) Students before the Boko Haram incident,