Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State government on Thursday revealed that over 200,000 students and more than 1,000 secondary school teachers in public secondary schools in the state were forced out of school due to Fulani herdsmen invasion.
Executive Secretary, Benue State Teaching Service Board, Prof. Wilfred Uji, who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen in Makurdi, explained that the rampaging herdsmen also destroyed over 20 out of the 64 government-owned secondary schools across the three senatorial districts in the state.
Prof. Uji said the board would need over N1billion from the Federal Government as an intervention for total reconstruction and rehabilitation of the affected schools as well as teachers.
The TSB boss listed the communities where government-owned secondary schools were affected by the attacks to include Agatu, Udei, Gbajimba, Torkula all in Guma local government area as well as Logo, Ukum and Katsina-Ala local government areas.
“At one instance, the herdsmen wrote a letter to the principal of Community Secondary School, Tongov in Katsina-Ala local government area and the man died later.
“I can categorically tell you that the future of children displaced by the attack is bleak, and it will take the state and other parts of northern Nigeria more than 100 years to catch up with the rest of the states in the country educationally.
“The North accounts for over 80 percent illiteracy rate in the country due to insurgency and other unrest around the region. There are over 5 million school dropouts in northern Nigeria.
“There is no future for our children educationally. Urgent intervention is needed to restore confidence in the system. We should stop playing politics. In the next 100 years, we will still find ourselves quarreling over the issue of education. The North is the one marginalising itself. The northerners especially the president should wake up and stabilise the educational system in the region.
“I urge the Federal government to set up Secondary Schools Commission like Nigeria University Commission, NUC, Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC and National Board of Technical Education to regulate secondary school in the country,” Uji said.
Uji further revealed that the wage bill of the board had dropped from over 600 million to 500 million following the retirement of more than 500 teachers and death of over 100.