Boko Haram’s targeted attacks on schools in northern Nigeria has left over 7,000 school children stranded and without a classroom, reports said.
According to the report, some 14 schools have been razed down in fires started by the sect in Maiduguri alone. None of the fires have resulted in casualties, but the impact from the fires are felt in the neighbourhood by parents too afraid to enrol their children in schools.
The sect, whose name means “Western education is bad” has waged an increasingly deadly war on peace in Nigeria and has threatened, in a recent video message posted on YouTube, to intensify its attacks.
School enrolment is already poor in the northeastern state, than in other states in Nigeria, where only 28 percent of school-aged children are in school, accordign to the Nigeria Education Data Survey 2010.
“We are appealing to parents to keep their children in school and not to be intimidated,” Musa Inuwa, the Commissioner for Education in Borno State, told news agencies. However, concerned parents are hard pressed to make that decision.
State officials have tried, to no avail, to assure parents that it is still safe to send their children to school and Inuwa has been visiting schools to motivate pupils and staff.
Eric Guttschuss, Researcher on Nigeria for the watchdog organization, Human Rights Watch said: “It’s not just the students at the targeted schools that end up being affected. Targeting of schools can lead children in neighbouring schools to stay home or drop out completely for fear of further attacks.”
Authorities, responding to the crisis, have promised to rebuild all state schools that have been burned or bombed.
The Joint Military Task Force deployed to Borno State to enforce Operation Restore Order in 2011 has stepped up patrols around state schools.