Boko Haram: Northeast Nigeria ‘500 years behind South in Education’ – VC

Professor Ibrahim Abubakar NJODI
Professor Ibrahim Abubakar NJODI

The Vice- Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Abubakar Njodi, has said the North-east may take 500 years to recover from the destruction inflicted by Boko Haram on its education system and attain the current standard in southern Nigeria.

Mr. Njodi, a professor of Physical and Health Education, said even before the advent of Boko Haram, studies indicated that the region was about 150 years behind other parts of the country, especially the south.

He made this remark on Friday when he received a delegation from the Victims’ Support Fund, VSF, on a condolence visit over the January 16 suicide bomb attack that claimed the lives of three staff of the university, including a senior professor.

“Education in the North is endangered,” Mr. Njodi lamented.

“I have said it at different fora that prior to Boko Haram, there were some studies, some real, some speculative, that showed the north was 100 years behind the south. And that was before Boko Haram came. What it means here is that, at that time if the south should stop going to school, it would take the north 100 years to catch up.

“When the north was broken up into North-east, North-west and North-central, the North-east was 150 years behind. And also at that time, if the south stopped going to school, it would take the North-east 150 years to catch up.

“With the situation that the Boko Haram has put us now, if those studies are anything to go by, the North-east may require about 500 to 1000 years to catch up with the other parts of the country”, said the vice-chancellor.

Mr. Njodi said the state of education of the North-East requires the support of all as the future “looks gloomy”.

He said the University had been in the eyes of the Boko Haram storm since its inception but had managed to survive without closing its campus for a single day.

“We knew from the onset that we are their (Boko Haram) prime target because going by their name, Boko Haram, which goes against Western education, we should not be in existence at all.

“And when they attacked us on the 16th January, we were not surprised but shocked in the sense that despite all the efforts we put in place, we couldn’t contain everything. And during the attack, we lost a very hard working professor, Aliyu Mani, the Director of Veterinary Teaching Hospital, along with him were two students who were wards of two of our staff”.

The vice-chancellor said 17 persons were taken to hospitals for treatment with various degrees of injuries from the attacks, but so far 13 of them had been discharged.

“When the heat of the Boko Haram was too much in 2004, we took a decision not to close the university because if we close, where will our students who are 90 percent from the North-east go to when their communities had all been attacked and probably taken by Boko Haram?

“So we felt we should remain and continue to run the school, so as to give the military and other aide agencies the reason to be here; and also to encourage them the more and make them have the reason to fight on”, he said.

The deputy chairman of VSF, Tijjani Tumsa, who led the delegation, said his organization would partner the university in research and education.


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  • Justice and Fairness

    The scourge of Boko Haram is highly regretted. We sincerely wish and pray the nightmare shall pass away very soon. But why is the VC worried. The elites in the NE shall surely take care of the 500 years imbalance through Federal Character and Quota System while funds being gathered for accelerated development can be stolen through fraudulent contracts, payment to Imams for prayers etc, as we are currently witnessing.

  • FuzzyLogic

    There is a very easy way to cut that 500 years time required for the NE to catch-up with the South. Put advances in education in the South in turbo reverse gear. Heck, it is already happening. With little of no money budgeted for education by this administration, that dream would be realized sooner than later.

  • marc umeh

    The number one task is to defeat Boko Haram completely , whatever it takes. Without that any effort at improving education will fail . Southern educators , expatraites , professionals cannot work in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity , no matter the financial inducement.

    • Oluseyi Phillips 111

      Nigeria can not defeat Bokoharam with military force alone. Military force and propaganda will defeat Bokoharam. For instance, Propaganda can come through various ways as employments, commercials on radio or tv about a better society, education down to grassroot.

      • Otile

        Don’t count on propaganda and falsehood to defeat evil. Get real.

        • AryLoyds

          LOL , THAT IS LIKE HOPING ON ALAHAGI LAI MOHAMMED TO GIVE YOU HIS DAILY DOSE OF GOOD NEWS 🙂

  • banga

    The backwardness of the NE was never caused by Boko Haram. Even before Boko Haram, majority of the NE had rejected western education. The say this kind of stuff to garner sympathy and money donation from international agencies.

  • AryLoyds

    Well Professor too bad education is a sin were you come from, If a professor is killed in a university then it may take even longer to replace such a brain , food for thought

    • Epsilon_Delta

      You mean a quota system professor that was admitted into the university with JAMB score of 2/400?

  • ayomi

    Well, Western knowledge is evil

  • GusO

    Rather than blame the VC, we should commiserate with him. I’m a Southerner and we should be happy to see and encourage Northerners who want to attain the same education we cherish for it moderates their religious views and makes all of us aspire for similar things in life.
    I don’t know much about the educational situation in the Northeast, but I will advice the Prof not to despair too much. If all Northeastern children born today go to schools at the same rate as Southern children born at the same time, in 25 years, they would be as educated as their Southern compatriots with university degrees. In 50 years, they will be close to catching up with the South and in 75 years, they would have caught up. So, focus on kids born form now henceforth. Ensure that by the time they begin primary schools in 5 years from known, the schools are built and ready to admit them. So, his estimate of 500 years is overly conservative. Will this simple scenario happen? It may not because of greedy politicians and civil servants who will loot most of the funds budgeted for education.

  • Jack Daniels

    This is the evil of Islam for you