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Are we now blaming the victim?

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Are We Now Blaming the Victim?

By Hassan Gimba

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile but is morally treasonable to the American public.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

Last week, the Nigerian Army issued a statement on what in Naija terminology is called “Collabo”. The information was a warning to those “who collaborate” with Boko Haram. Coming in the aftermath of the unfortunate Zabarmari pogrom, in which scores of Nigerian rice farmers were slaughtered, one is left with the feeling that the statement might have been made with them in mind. An audio recording of an unknown man with unknown sources accusing the slain of being Boko Haram collaborators had gone viral immediately after.

A press release by the army said: “The Theatre Command, Operation LAFIYA DOLE has reliable information that despite the obvious implications and the dangers of collaborating with Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists and other criminal elements in the society, some unscrupulous elements engage in it. The level of collaboration and support ranged from providing information and intelligence on troops and law-abiding citizens, (sic) to logistics supply and to trading with the terrorists. In particular, certain communities in the general areas of Benisheik, Jakana, Mainok, Magumeri, Gajiram and Gubio, all in Borno State, have been identified as harbouring these unpatriotic and heartless criminal elements. This account (sic) for high level of terrorists activities and general insecurity that results in casualties in those areas. “Consequently, the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE wishes to inform all those involved in these dastardly acts to stop it forthwith. Anyone caught will face the full wrath of the law as we will not tolerate anyone sabotaging our concerted counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts through collaboration with the Boko Haram terrorists. We may also be compelled to come out hard on any community or groups that support or collaborate with terrorists in any way or form or act as a buffer or harbour zone to these criminals.”

Collaborators, you say? But who is a collaborator and under what circumstances can he be termed a collaborator? What is even “collaboration”? Collaboration could be positive or negative, but the army is talking about collaboration as “traitorous cooperation with an occupying enemy”.

You see, I am totally against any traitor of our fatherland. We should all put the country first before any human being or earthly interests because, in reality, our country is what we are bequeathing our children and our children’s children. No matter how many houses or how much money you leave for them, they become nothing without the land. Ask the children of Iraqi or Libyan millionaires during the reigns of Saddam and Ghaddafi whether they are now enjoying their wealth in their war beleaguered nations.

Since I am for patriotism, I also believe it is up to the nation not to give the citizen any excuse to be unpatriotic. No everyday citizen who is sure the government has his back will collaborate with his country’s enemies. Here, I am not talking of women of easy virtue, some even married, who often leave town to go to the bushes to wet the loins of marauders. I am not talking about those who send information to outlaws or engage in any activity with them with pecuniary gains in mind. No. I am speaking of the hapless citizens under the suzerainty of the rebellious.

Let us take the people of some areas in the North West who are forced to go through checkpoints operated by Boko Haram in bandits’ toga on their way to the markets or their homes or their farmlands. If these people had where to go to, they would have since fled to that haven. They, therefore, find themselves living side by side with the bloodthirsty outlaws. The latter would not hesitate to slaughter them at the drop of a coin.

Those responsible for dislodging the undesirables have not done so. The people have witnessed their friends and family members slaughtered, and nothing has changed except for the usual condemnations and empty promises from certain quarters. The occupiers of their lands continue living unchallenged. What, for God’s sake, do you expect these luckless villagers to do? Report to the appropriate quarters, someone said. But you report what is not known. The concerned quarters all know and understand what is happening yet they have not taken any necessary measures.

Do you think if these people, who live large and man checkpoints and collect taxes, go to markets and collect taxes, collect fees before they allow farmers to farm, ask the villagers to cultivate the land for them, the villagers can refuse? Put yourself in the villagers’ shoes before answering.

In these villages, people seek permission from these bandits before any wedding ceremony. The devils can also come to a wedding gathering and demand for the bride to be given to them. Anyone who refuses does so at the cost of his life. It was in the news just about two weeks ago that they went to a man and asked him to ‘lend’ them his daughter for a week. The man had to comply because no one could save him from this humiliation. Even if there was, who would come to his aid? In any case, would he have had the chance to go and report? Okay, the news later filtered out, what is the authority doing to give justice to this debased father?

Now, what do you call these people if you want to be fair, objective and just? Those forced to work – any form of work – for these occupiers or the man who “loaned” them his daughter? Collaborators? If they are, what do you call the Chibok girls married to Boko Haram commanders? All these belong to the category of those whose father could not save them even if they spit in the eye of the devil.

You see, this is the similar situation the Zabarmari rice farmers and many communities in Borno find themselves in. Living in Boko Haram occupied territory calls for tact to survive. There are other areas in Borno where the Boko Haramites hold sway – lording it over villagers – and those who should know know, but they have done nothing about it.

Many communities in the North East, North West and of course the North Central are under siege by either Boko Haram or its alter ego, the bandits. I have always maintained that they are the same foot soldiers of some sinister puppeteers. Unfortunately, there seems to be “shyness” in revealing these puppeteers. We have had countless arrested culprits of both groups. Either they get “deradicalised” and released into society, only to return to their old ways, or nothing is heard of them again. All our security agencies are supposedly trained in debriefing, and yet sponsors have not been unearthed. We are getting overwhelmed by them, yet it is a taboo to cry out over our deficiencies. Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, demoted for lamenting over the lack of weapons to prosecute the war can tell you what a taboo is and what it is not.

It is instructive when the army said, “We may also be compelled to come out hard on any community or groups that support or collaborate with terrorists in any way or form or act as buffer or harbour zone to these criminals.” Do you think there is any Boko Haram infested or bandit flooded community that will not welcome the army with open hands and hearts? Who do you think loves living in fear and humiliation under marauders where living is brutal, activities nasty and life cheap? No matter how much we cry, a safe Nigeria where peace and justice reign is what we want.

But instead, politicians use them to bait gullible voters by promising to “reveal sponsors” when elected only to continue with accusations when in office. Ordinary citizens bent on exonerating their idols accuse, without any evidence, from nations to individuals and other countries’ leaders. However, we should know that the fish that is forethoughtful can never regret: the fish that saw its water getting shallow escapes to deeper water. At the same time, those that lived for the moment perished as a result of drought.

But which part of the country is safe? Travelling is at the traveller’s risk. Agreed there are security challenges all over the world. Yes, there are killings all over the world. However, there is none like ours across the globe. High crime is becoming routine, and if we do not apply the brakes, none of us knows how he will end. It will be unfortunate if we fail to do something urgent and thorough. This is because we will hand over a dysfunctional land to our children even though our fathers handed us a functional one.

It is high time we prioritised the sanctity of life and truth in this country. It is getting to a stage where killers, kidnappers and all sorts of pillagers run amuck at will. A story goes that a man in a part of a Nigerian town called a friend at the other end to warn him that gunshots are being heard in his area. The friend told him not to worry, saying, “there is talk that it is kidnappers taking their victim”. Truth from government officials is necessary for people to trust their government. We were told a long time ago that Boko Haram had been defeated. Later it was amended to “technically” defeated. We were then told their attacks were the last kicks of a dying horse. We were told the Boko Haramites held no territory and on the run. Still, the slaughtered people of Zabarmari, some 20 kilometres out of Maiduguri, were accused of not obtaining clearance before venturing to their farms.

By the way, can’t the federal government enact a law to the effect that for any criminal arrested with an unregistered SIM card or for any crime perpetrated in which an unregistered SIM card was used for communication, the network provider should be sanctioned? Such ideas might be considered undemocratic. However, Joseph Goebbels once said: “It will always be one of the best jokes of democracy that it gives its deadly enemies the means to destroy it.”

Hassan Gimba

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The alarming rate of drug abuse in Nigeria. By Gaji Ahmed 12/12/2020 The Alarming Rate Of Drug Abuse Among The Youth and The Old And Its Consequences On National Development, Peace And Stability….. Drug abuse is one of the major social upheaval in contemporary age, it has created wide range of problems that has became a nightmare to the entire world. Governments across the world spent Billions of Dollars in combating the menace, sadly, there are powerful people who are behind the carnage, those people are well connected and extremely rich, in fact, the issue of drug abuse has posed a potential threat to the entire humanity. The alarming rate of increase in drug abuse is a cause for concern, normally, young people were the category of people known for such activities, nowadays, the trend has gone beyond imagination and redemption. Different class of people are known to be abusing substances, regardless of class, age, gender, status and hierarchy, it depends on the level of people income, the higher the income,, the higher the category of the substance, the lower the income, the lower the category of the substance. Cocaine, morphine,crack and other expensive drugs are for the well to do,while marijuana, codeine, tramadol and other related substance are for the low income earners. It is sad to note that an old man of over 70 years of age engage in substance abuse, so also women and children. Syrup abuse is the commonest substance use by students, especially women. Last year, it was reported in the nations major Newspapers that, each day, over 3 Million bottles of codeine syrup are abused in Kano state alone, in fact, it was a pathetic revelation which need serious action from all angle. Another painful story is that of young women who steal in order to buy the substance, just yesterday, Nafdac said, 70% of trycle riders in kano state abuse drugs. In such situation, nobody is safe, because accident is imminent. NDLEA has recorded substantial success in the fight against drug abuse and sell, yet, the trend is persisting on daily basis, due to the increase in prices of substance, the youth resorted to highly risk and fatal ways of abusing substance, for instance, lizard dung, latrine and other unhealthy methods are the latest way of self satisfaction by the abusers. Recently, according to a report,,young men in Indonesia boil menstrual pads and drink in order to get high, what a madness! Jenki, slow and other similar drugs are common in black market. The danger of abusing mind bending substance is a threat to our collective well-being, it will slow development, create instability, chaos and monumental health challenges to the nation. Government should devise a strategy in order to curb the threat of substance abuse and agencies like NDLEA, NAFDAC and related bodies should be adequately funded and empowered, so that healthy growth,, peace and stability will be achieved. Most of the ongoing crisis in our nation and other nations were deeply influenced by substance abuse. The time to act is now, or else the nation will plunge into a national disaster that will have a fatal consequences

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Opinion

Educational development in Yobe And Fika old students Association

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Educational Development in Yobe and Fika old students association

By Abba Dukawa

YOBE state had its own bitter taste of the Boko Haram insurgency, which practically destroyed many schools in the state, immediately on the day Governor Mai Mala Buni took over the affairs of the state, he had unveiled his administration’s commitments in improving primary and secondary education in the state. During his inauguration speech on May 29, declared a state of emergency on primary and secondary education in the state. Its apt to quote him , I Hereby Declare A State Of Emergency On Primary And Secondary Education In The State, To Build A Solid, Vibrant And Robust Foundation For The Development Of Education. Government Would As A Matter Of Deliberate Policy Continue To Provide The Necessary Support To Move Education In The State To Greater Heights.”

This declaration declare a state of emergency on state education is an admission that things are not where they are supposed to be. It means that the familiar perception of the problems that confront the state and must be creatively challenged.

To be fair government cannot be completely blame for poor educational facilities; but the communities and Old Students association, in they own right, has a vital role to play in the supporting alma mater while communities also nedd to support government efforts in , delivery and improvement of education.

Politics aside there is need for Old students association need to pay back what the government offered them during the good days instead of politicize alleged lack of decent educational facilities in some schools in the state.

HMB’s administration recorded tremendous achievements greatly in health care delivery to schools, roads, agriculture in spite of the security challenges in Yobe state. Yobe State is home to about a third of Nigeria’s 13.2 million out-of-school children. In order to improve and encourage pupil’s enrolment in schools in the state HMB’s administration partner with the Federal Government for the implementation of the Home Grown Feeding Programme.

The administration has made a significant landmark in revolutionising the educational sector in the state Buni convened the state’s first education summit to proffered solutions to the sector past track his administration goal in the development of the state education sectors.

Like it or not the administration has increased school enrolment in the state, Some structures burnt down by the Boko Haram insurgents renovated, establish two model primary schools and two model junior secondary schools in each of the state three senatorial districts to expand access to education by the school age.

Hundreds of schools have so far been rehabilitate, new ones in the local government councils affected by the insurgency and other local government area of the state have been constructed in line with the state of emergency declared by the administration on education. Also new Model schools were constructed in Damaturu, Gashua, Potiskum, Geidam, Nguru and Buni Yadi all Buni’s administration effort to provide conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning.

Thousands teachers have been trained and retrained to enhance manpower requirements of the schools and thousands fresh teachers has been employed despite state with lean financial resources. administration procured and distributed over N1billion text books, laboratory equipment and chemicals. Classroom and office furniture were procured and distributed to schools across the state. State higher institutions also not left out in spite mountainous challenges facing the state, the administration has greatly support the state owned tertiary institutions to be centres of academic excellence, and also to produce adequate, trained and qualified manpower to serve the state and beyond.

In view of the great loss suffered by the education sector from insurgency, the administration is determined to move the State away from an educationally disadvantaged to an educationally prosperous one. Buni’s administration already partner and seek for special intervention from the Federal Ministry of Education, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET Fund), International Organizations to support Yobe state government in its commitment to rebuilding education in the State.

In my view, on recent video posted on social media by Fika Government Secondary Old Boy on School facilities; is nothing but looking for cheap popularity. In deal society, communities and Old Students Association are complementing govenment’s efforts, in providing educational facilities in their immediate environment like what peoples seeing in the southern part of the country. It should be a good for Fika Old Students Associations to be bipartisan not to be critical to government efforts. It would be a great insensitivity for them to blame the state government on decay of school facilities. What support they offered to their alma Mater in they capacities as Old Boy of Fika Governor Buni’s deserve commendation for his concern on education, especially at the all levels.

To be fair without Government alone cannot provide educational facilities to all state own schools as there is need for total support of School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) and Old Students association, in every communities. Fika Old Students Associations and other alike Old Boys forgot even before HMB secession to power in May 29/2019, the insurgents has destroyed many educational facilities in the state making many pupils to abandon schools for their safety. In spite of this challange Governor Buni has displaying his political will toward the educational development across the state.

Undeniably Buni’s administration take proactive steps to rehabilitate and equip to standard at least one Science Secondary School in each senatorial zone in the State. Community and old students association has a vital role to play in the provision, educational facilities and improvement of education, peasants, government, traditional and religious leaders everyone has a stake in it.

Dukawa can be reached at abbahydukawa@gmail.com.

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APC Congress: Why There is No Descending Voice in Borno

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APC Congress: Why there is no descending voice in Borno

By: Yusuf Adamu

The All Progressive Congress, APC in Borno state has shone that unity among party members following the meeting held today at the multipurpose hall of the Maiduguri government house is a clear indication that the leadership under governor Babagana Umara Zulum is carrying everyone along on the decisions taking to shaping the future of the party in the state and to have others emulate the good example from Borno state.

The examplary demonstration of the stewardship of the governor Zulum administration and advices from party leaders like the former governor Senator Kashim Shettima, senators representing northern Borno – Abubakar Kyari and Senator Muhammed Ali Ndume of southern Borno as well as members of the house of representatives and stakeholders have spoken well of the party as it prepares for the coming Congress.

The outward demonstration of maturity and agreement that gives birth to peaceful meeting of party members is an indication that APC in Borno state has come of aged and standing as a true democracy. It also shows that, the governor has been leading the right way of leaders who are selfless in the discharge of their responsibilities.

The fact that there was no descending voice true out the cause of the meeting and even after is a positive indications that all those who are representing the party in leadership position both at the state and national levels has the stake of charismatic leadership that speaks volumes on the delivery of people trust and confidence repose on them.

The meeting has brought light to the cravings for equality among members and understanding among followership that makes APC thick under this democratic experience. The respect and total commitment exercise by members has gone steps further to bring out the best that any democratic governance can offer. This also has brought the fact that the consensus which was agreed upon today is heart warming and politically energizing is the making of a greater APC in Borno state.

  • Yusuf Adamu writes from Maiduguri

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Opinion

The Rot in Education Predated Governor Buni, By Hassan Gimba

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The Rot In Education Predated Governor Buni, by Hassan Gimba

I recently watched a video clip made by an old student of Fika Government Secondary School in which he showed how dilapidated the school is. It was first sent to me by a retired federal permanent secretary and later by a former minister of the federal republic. Among many others who sent the same clip to me is a friend who is a professor and a dean in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and another who is a state commander of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency. That means the video clip has gone viral.

Many of those who sent me the clip asked whether it was true. Some suggested I bring it to the notice of the Governor, His Excellency Mai Mala Buni. I appreciated all of them and thanked them for their belief and confidence that I would bring it to the governor’s notice.

I have not met and discussed it with the governor–yet–but I am sure he must have seen it by now. I am sure because I know he has his ears to the ground and has one of the best feedback mechanisms among the governors of the nation.

My take on the video is deep, as I explained to some of them who expected me to say something. Their unuttered query was like “being a journalist who knows the governor for ages and reports his activities, you must know something”. Therefore, tell them something without holding brief for those really responsible, I have to.

The rot in education in Yobe State has eaten deep over the years. Perhaps right from its creation. Anyone who listened to the video would attest to that. The videographer’s first sentence gave him out as someone who was unfortunate to go to a Yobe school in the 1990s, as he said, when education imparted was half-baked. Throughout his lamentations, his rendition suggested someone who needed further teaching to redo the WAEC in English, at least.

But people believe that once a message is conveyed, then language can be blown to smithereens. Well, his message was loud and clear, but our concern here is the quality of education he got in the 1990s. Meaning the poor quality of education in Yobe predated the emergence of Honourable Mai Mala Buni as the governor of the state.

Therefore, aware of the decay in the state of education, Governor Buni’s first act as governor, pronounced before he came down from the podium on the day of his inauguration, was the declaration of the State of Emergency on primary and secondary education. He followed that up by hosting an Education Summit on the 1st of July, after which he set up a Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Professor Malah Daura, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri.

To prove that it was not mere propaganda, that year he allocated to the education sector the largest share of N22.853b or 21.08%. In previous years education had very low allocations.

See attached graphs.

Reversing decomposition is not an effortless task. There are worse schools than Fika, in Yobe, unfortunately. Almost all the schools had not only dilapidated structures, but the absence of such when he took over. Typical examples are schools with structures meant for about 2000 but harbouring over 20,000 pupils.

However, from 2019 to date, he has rehabilitated and expanded many of the schools in the state. Fika and others in a similar state of disrepair are on the agenda and I am privileged to know that already the process for their rehabilitation has been kick-started. Meanwhile, he has built from scratch 14 new schools comprising seven mega and seven standard model schools, with each having 24 classrooms.

While the video clip is an eye-opener, it is also an indicator of how intense the atrophy in education in the state is and for how long.

But if we should be fair, the rot predated Governor Mai Mala Buni’s ascension. Again, to be truthful, he came intending to better education in the state and he has started.

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