NO fewer than 40 primary and secondary schools have been shut down due to insecurity in Benue state.
The Benue state commissioner for Education, Tarnongo Saawuan, in a report published by Daily Trust on Saturday, May 13, identified insecurity as the major challenge to education in the state.
According to Saawuaan, over 30 primary and 10 secondary schools had been closed down as a result of armed invasions in those communities.
The ICIR reports that about 5,138 people had been killed and 18 local government areas attacked by suspected herdsmen under Governor Samuel Ortom’s administration as of March 13, according to figures released by the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
The agency’s executive secretary, Emmanuel Shior, gave the figures in Makurdi during a press briefing on the humanitarian situation in the state since the inception of Ortom’s administration about eight years ago.
Shior noted that the attacks, which happened in 18 of the 23 LGAs of the state, led to the death of 1,177 and 809 people in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Also, according to him, 43 persons were killed in 2017, 440 in 2018, 174 in 2019, 88 in 2020, 2,131 in 2021, 172 in 2022, and 104 since January 2023.
On April 1, 2023, about two weeks after the report, scores of people were reported to have been killed, while many others sustained injuries as suspected armed herders stormed some Benue local government areas.
Also, about 18,000 people had been displaced since the beginning of April following recent attacks on some communities in the state.
The Commissioner lamented that the terrorist attacks had pushed many children out of school.
He said, “A situation where you sit in your home at night and people invade your community and kill at will cannot be classified as herders/farmers clashes. They are simply terrorists and people who want to chase us out and take over our land and in so doing, majority of our schools in these local governments are under lock and key.
“As much as we want majority of our Benue children to have access to education, a lot of them are out of school. Go to Guma, Agatu, Gwer West and Kwande LGAs, and even in Makurdi, you cannot access the schools. The schools have been down for a number of sessions, a number of years and it has affected us in Benue.
“There are over 30 primary schools that have been closed down, and more than 10 secondary schools are also affected with quite a number of children going into thousands that cannot access schools in their places.”