Boko Haram: Pitching Christians against Muslims in Nigeria - Continental Inquirer

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Boko Haram: Pitching Christians against Muslims in Nigeria



 By Dotun Ibiwoye 

The parents and teachers of school age girls today said their children will remain at home time until further notice due to security fears following a mass kidnapping by Boko Haram jihadists.
It will be recalled that the terrorists invaded the Government Girls Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018 kidnapping about 110 schoolgirls in replica of the abduction in Chibok in 2014 that caused global outcry.
Security has been an issue in Dapchi since it emerged that soldiers had been withdrawn before the kidnapping and claims that warnings about Boko Haram’s arrival went unheeded.
Some children who escaped the abduction vowed never to return.
The school re-opened on April 30, 2018, one teacher, who spoke on the condition of anonimity for fear of official sanctions, said most pupils have stayed away because they were still afraid of being kidnapped.
“In our school, we have a total student population of 989, and out of that number only 314 have resumed after we reopened. Of the 314 that returned, 299 are writing their final examinations and will be leaving school in July,” he said.
“So, technically, we can say only 15 students have resumed, who will be continuing their education here.”


Bashir Manzo, who headed the abducted girls’ parents association, said children were being kept at home because of a lack of security personnel.
“There are only a handful of soldiers and vigilantes guarding the school, not more than 25 in all, a number grossly inadequate to protect our daughters,” he told AFP.
“We believe even the 15 girls that returned will go back home once their seniors finish their examinations and leave.”
Yobe’s State education commissioner, Mohammed Lamin, angrily dismissed parents’ concerns and said “everything humanly possible” had been done to make the school safe.
“We deployed soldiers, police, civil defence paramilitary and vigilantes to the school providing security 24 hours,” he said.
“How can they say security is inadequate? Do they have such level of security in their homes?”
All but six of the Dapchi girls kidnapped in February 19, 2018, were returned to the school just over a month later.
Five died in captivity while the only Christian among them, Leah Sharibu, is still being held.
On May 2nd, 2018, The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, considered the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s 74.6 million Muslims, who account for roughly 50 percent of the nation’s population, warned Christian leaders across Nigeria to be mindful of the way they talk about terrorism in the country.
The Sultan made this warning while reacting some reports credited to some Christian leaders that: “If Leah Sharibu dies in the hands of Boko Haram, there is going to be a religious war in the country.”
“Did the Muslims connive with Boko Haram to abduct the girls and release others? No. For them to now make that comment that if she dies in the hands of Boko Haram there will be a religious war is very unfair. “ The Sultan said
 “How could you start attacking Muslims because this innocent girl happened to be a victim of murderous terrorists? It means the insurgents are winning the war because that is what they want. “
“If they hear about this and went and kill the innocent girl, that means you are part and parcel of what make them to do that because they want to cause confusion in the country. We are all praying for her safe return and for the safety of every Nigerian irrespective of his or her religion.”
 The monarch affirmed  that more Muslims were killed by Boko Haram than Christians which even the former President Goodluck Jonathan had acknowledged in the past.
“There is no G4 riffle because it had been wiped away for long. That picture being used particularly by the Channels TV was that of herders in the Central African Republic, who were being terrorised by rustlers because cattle rustling started in their country long before coming to Nigeria. “
“You don’t arrest or kill innocent Fulani men just like what had happened in Benue State when innocent Fulanis who were on transit were stopped and killed by some residents of the state.
“We should all see ourselves as security personnel. Let us not leave them alone. Don’t hide criminals even if they are your fathers and brothers. Because too much blood had been shed and this is why God is angry with us. “
“I believe there are more good people than the bad ones. Let the good ones come together and defeat the bad ones. We have done that while fighting malaria and we can do it again.”
Another parent, Kachalla Bukar, said there were now even fewer troops in the remote town, which lies some 100 kilometres (62.5 miles) north of the state capital, Damaturu.
“The route through which the kidnappers came in and out of the town is still without military or police presence,” he said. “This route leads up to Chad.”
The state government’s failure to show sympathy and provide moral support to families of the abducted schoolgirls had not inspired confidence, he added.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the town but as yet, there had been no condolences sent from the state government to the families of the girls who died or support for the remaining girl in captivity, he alleged.
Parents had expected improved security measures, including raising the school’s low perimeter wall, said Bukar.
The jihadists, Boko Haram have  destroyed schools across northeast Nigeria, which had poor levels of education even before the conflict began in 2009, particularly among girls.
Last September, the UN children’s charity UNICEF said more than 2,295 teachers had been killed and 19,000 displaced while nearly 1,4000 schools have been destroyed.
Manzo said UNICEF secured admission for 20 of the abducted girls into Tulip International College, a Turkish-run private school.
Parents of the other girls were left to try to get them admission into other public secondary schools in the state but without success.
Bukar said parents were losing faith with the authorities.
“This leaves many parents with no option but to marry off their daughters because they have no means of taking them to schools outside the state,” he said




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