Dealing with insurgency in unimaid as an under graduate By Fatima Bukar
Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State in North-Eastern Nigeria has come alive with its commercial activities receiving a boost, the increasing hot weather due to global warming notwithstanding.
Its long term history tied to the Kanem Borno Empire and strategic location on Nigeria’s map, has made it attractive to Nigerians and people from neighbouring countries like Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.
Life in Maiduguri before now had been that of fun spiced with a moderate standard of living for an average student. This has made the University of Maiduguri community to be attractive to Nigerians from all works of life and all the states of the federation.
The emergence of the Islamic terrorist group; Boko Haram in the North-east of Nigeria has completely ruined this peaceful life that the students used to cherish.
Boko Haram under the main leader Abubakar Shekau who is the successor of the group’s first leader, Mohammed Yusuf has been successfully terrorizing states in the North-East like Borno, Yobe and Adamawa until the advent of chief of army staff Tukur Buratai who assisted in turning things around a bit. They are even believed to have recruited some students forcefully and sometimes through indoctrination.
In spite of the efforts of the armed forces, the lifespan of the insurgents have refused to be terminated. These three states are the worst affected states since the emergence of terrorist activities in Nigeria. Thousands of people have been killed in this region forcing hundreds of thousands fleeing their homes which are usually raised down. It became so bad that this region became a no go area for at least six months when residents had to go to Damaturu to call loved ones and return back to Maiduguri.
It was very risky for residents including students to travel down to Maiduguri within the deadly years of 2014-2016. Many students had to relocate to other universities where insurgency was not part of their daily routine.
A lot of hope has begun to shine on students and the entire people of this region. For the past years, the Nigerian armed forces have continued to intensify its efforts in ensuring that peace is actually restored in this region.
Nigeria Army under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai launched operation “Zaman Lafia Dole”. This operation has been ensuring that the insurgents have been hit deep into their hideouts in Sambisa forest. With the help of armed forces from neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon , a multi-national task force was set up.
The insurgents do not have anywhere to go as forces from neighbouring countries have been on high alert. Successes are still being recorded with the help of these operations as the Boko Haram has been hit hard and their leader according to Nigeria armed forces is on the run dressing like women.
These intensified efforts of Nigeria armed forces including that of multi-national task forces has proof to students and people of this region that yes there is light at the end of the tunnel. Songs of peace and beautiful lives their people used to have in the past have now begun to rise again.
Students’ do hope for a peaceful place of study has begun to shine again in Maiduguri. With this, students’ hope is restored again and one day, the old Maiduguri; the “Home of Peace” will come once again.
We also hope that the normal life we are enjoying on campus without students running helter skelter due to Boko Haram scare will end. Students will one day all sleep in their hostels with their two eyes closed contrary to what happens now in which students still with one eye open and one closed outside in the dark for fear.
Bukar writes from the Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri.