Benue State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has said the deadly activities of herdsmen force about 10,000 pupils out of school in two local government areas of the state.
The chairman of the board, Rev. Philip Tachin, speaking with journalists on Sunday in Makurdi; said many schools were affected as many families fled their homes alongside the children to different camps following the invasion of Guma and Logo LGAs of the state by gunmen.
Tachin lamented that the situation had posed a setback for the board which recently embarked on massive campaign for increased enrolment of pupils into public primary schools in the state at the commencement of the new academic session few months ago.
He said it was disheartening to see hundreds of school children forced out of school due to the invasion by suspected herders of some communities in the Guma and Logo areas when he paid a visit to the camp few days ago to donate relief materials.
Tachin said, “The Executive Secretary of State Emergency Management Agency gave me 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 IDP camps.
“This is the multiplier effect of this genocidal operation. There are six IDP camps in these two affected local government areas and if the statistics of these schoolchildren are the same across the IDPs camps, over 10,000 children have been forced out of school.”
According to him, the development was antithetical to the Universal Basic Education Commission’s intensive effort to mop up out-of-school children in the state.
Tachin expressed worry that the gunmen who, he said, had no value for education were on a mission to destroy education, adding that, if the Federal Government was not decisive in putting a stop to the killings, then its efforts in education would be a mere waste of resources.
“Many schools have been affected, though we have 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 leading to a conflagration. We want one Nigeria and we shouldn’t be pushed to having a divided country,” Tachin submits.