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“When i was a Boko Haram Member”

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“When I was a Boko Haram member”

In modern day Nigeria, Borno is referred to as Home of Peace. Its history is synonymous with statecraft, Islam and scholarship. When Kanem Borno was relating with the outside world in trade and international relations, most nationalities in Nigeria were unaware of the outside world. It is home of Islamic education/civilization. So whoever wants to hurt Islam choosing Borno is appropriate to create Maitasine and Boko Haram cells. After all, the docility and welcoming culture of its peoples did not help matters.

I am a Muslim, but I choose not to belong to any sect, not to talk of a violent cultist body like Boko Haram. But on 15thApril 2013 a team of policemen led by Inspector Ibrahim Agu of the Task Force On Anti Terrorism & Heinous Crimes travelled all the way from Abuja to Maiduguri to unlawfully arrest me accusing me of belonging to Boko Haram. This was how easy a government security agent could conspire with whomever to make me a BH member. Nigerians have accused Security agents for framing them for pecuniary reasons. Mr. Agu, along with Inspector Sani Daura, arrested me in my office at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

They searched my official car and my house at Dalori Housing Estate. The journey to my house was meant to embarrass me and attract onlookers with siren blowing and fully armed police stationed in strategic positions. However, nothing incriminating was found in both searches.

I was taken to the notorious SARS office in Maiduguri and shown what they claimed was a petition written against me by one Bashir Goni that I belonged to the dreaded BH. The petitioner claimed that I was his childhood friend and classmate in primary school. That I recruited over 600 people into BH and supplied them with 200 AK 47 guns.

When I requested the police to present the petitioner, Mr. Ibrahim Agu said they searched for him in his address, Shehuri North but couldn’t locate him. He lied because at that time no security personnel dare go there because it was infested with BH member patrolling the streets with guns. When I insisted the petitioner be around to defend his allegations, his boys threatened to deal with me and lock me up, apparently to soften me.

What amazed me was could I be such a senior person in BH structure and be unnoticed by the DSS/Police or the army in Maiduguri in 2013? In any case, between 2007 and 2013 I was not in Maiduguri as I worked in various places: Abuja, Minna and Kaduna.

Please let’s look at the content of the petition, its frivolities and how the men in black turned reasoning up side down. If I could recruit 600 people into BH, I must be a very learned ideologue and in the top leadership of the organization. Could I be a government worker and be a member when they consider government work/school “haram”? Were the security agencies in Maiduguri dummies to miss such a “high value BH” leader”?

At the time of arrest I was a Deputy General Manager in Federal Mortgage Bank. Could I have afforded the money to buy 200 AK 47 guns for BH? Assuming each gun cost 400, 000 naira and multiply that by 200, it will be a colossal eighty million naira (N80, 000, 000).

Well, I was brought to Abuja. I wasn’t even allowed to carry my essential drugs and seeing my family in tears added to my dilemma. But Agu never cared seeing my wife and seven-year-old son in tears. I was lucky he didn’t kill me a long the way. Because many innocent lives were killed by both BH and security agents in Borno. But I think that wasn’t part of the brief by his sponsors. I was detained for four days by SARS in their dungeon. If it was a dream, I have since woken up coming face to face with suspected armed robbers, Boko Haram members and other high valued suspected criminals. I swear by He who created me, my first time of seeing a BH member that close was when Agu detained me among them.

The SARS detention centre was a terrible mess, unfit for human habitation. Detainees lay on the floor. No running water in the toilets and with the exception of BH suspects all other detainees buy their food. I bought food for many of my colleagues in detention. Detainees were also responsible for their medicals. We contributed money to have a young armed robbery suspect taken to the hospital. What I did earned me the respect of the leadership in the facility whose overall leader was called IG (Inspector General named after our tormentor).

I was so impressed because even the world of the “criminals” is organized as they take turns to clean the toilets and empty urine vessels in their cells. An armed robbery suspect shot in the foot told me it was done deliberately to stop any possibility of escape.

The other amazing thing I saw in detention was the understanding between Muslim (mostly BH members) and Christian suspects. During Muslim prayers the Christians will shift to one side of the cell to allow them enough space to pray and the same gesture is done to Christians. The wives/relations of the police solely sold the food, water and other things in the facility. A visitor to the facility must buy something from them or wouldn’t be allowed to see the suspect.

Inspector Agu kept me in the facility for the stated number of days agreed with the sponsors of my arrest. A senator of the Federal Republic came with two lawyers to bail me but the request was turned down. On the third day I had an asthma attack, possibly aggravated by sleeping on the floor, and they rushed me to a private clinic to see my doctor. I spent a night in the hospital and for the first time in my life, my BP rose. While on admission, two policemen were assigned to guard me. A high valued “terrorist” like me should have been hospitalized in either police or military hospital for maximum security, but Inspector Agu, for reasons best known to him, chose otherwise.

My life, fate and well- being were in the hands of Inspector Agu and ACP Umar Garba (head of the facility), the guys with guns and unlimited power. They could have locked me up and throw away the key for God knows how long.

Since then, I have never ceased thinking over why the police arrested and detained me in the first place. I get emotional whenever I thought of the ordeal the police subjected me to knowing I was innocent, yet helpless. My earlier move to seek legal redress was frustrated by relations and friends. The petitions I wrote dated 25 July 2016 and which were acknowledged received seeking for fair investigation and Justice to the Inspector General of Police, Chairman, Police Service Commission and the Human Rights Commission were all frustrated. The investigation and Justice I wanted from the police authorities was to compel Inspector Agu and his boss to produce the petitioner. I also wrote about the bribery issue.

I tried to know who could be behind my ordeal. A policeman who tried to show sympathy to my ordeal said “Oga, the petition may have originated from your work place.” I also recall one of them told my wife that “your husband is not BH… We know one when we see them…We are ordered to take him to Abuja”. With this background, I started reflecting on what ensued between Gimba Ya’u Kumo, then MD/CE of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, and me.

Sometime in January 2013, Gimba Ya’u called me at around 8 pm and harshly accused me of writing a petition against him in collaboration with his enemies in Gombe. I protested complicity but he bitterly threatened to deal with me and hanged his phone. I have worked with Gimba; he was a boastful character. When I was arrested, I suspected his threat to deal with me had finally come true. By nature I am an introvert, not troublesome, had quarreled with no one, therefore my only thought went to no other person than the one who threatened to deal with me three months earlier.

Two days after my arrest, Gimba paid an official visit to the Governor of Borno state. My staff welcomed him at the airport, drove him to the Government House but he never cared to ask after me even when I was the Zonal Coordinator and would have been the arrow head of the entourage. May be because he knew I was securely locked up in a police cell. Gimba has never sympathised or even mentioned anything to me about my arrest and detention until he left the Bank.

The police had written Gimba, being the MD/CE informing the Bank of my arrest and detention but according to the police the Bank refused to reply and acknowledge I was a staff of the Bank.

The Bank also refused to send an in-house lawyer to bail me or advice management on the next line of action where bail was not possible which is a tradition in the Bank.

When Gimba arbitrarily relocated the Zonal office from Maiduguri to his hometown, Gombe, he met stiff resistance and was compelled to reverse it. He accused me of complicity and transferred me to Maiduguri from Kaduna and told a staff “let them go and die in their Maiduguri”. He transferred me three times in less than six months. The MD/CEO cared less how these movements would impact on my family.

From my sources, I learnt his grudges against me included the petition written against him regarding the buying of the bank’s industrial kitchen utensils for his hotel in Gombe, multi-billion naira corruption pertaining the Legacy Housing Estate and billions of naira contract by Starting Point for IT. I have no hand in the petitions. I had little or no knowledge of all these scandals since I was not even in the Head Office.

I hold Inspector Agu and ACP Garba responsible for my unlawful arrest/detention; they should have exercised caution. They told the world I was a BH member, rushed me into detention and failed to prove my membership. “Go, you are free, you are not a Boko Haram”, Inspector Agu told me arrogantly. No apology, no official letter to clear me of the charges. When I requested for official clearance a few months ago, Agu told me only the Inspector General of Police could do that.

Let the truth be told, seven years down the lane I still harbor anger and bitterness. Hopely these write up will dissipate the anger of my unlawful detention and framed up charges by the police that I was a Boko Haram

Member – a four-day-membership. Somebody was behind this wicked act, but the police knew those responsible but because of their complicity, Justice will elude me. I pray to Allah to bless me with the heart to forgive my tormentors, amen.

I want to once again most sincerely appreciate all those that stood behind me during my travails.

M. B. Sabo

Former staff of FMBN,

bukarmustaphasabo@yahoo.com

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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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Opinion

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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