In the second in a three-part series on education in emergencies with a focus on the northeast, this interview with Abiola Sanusi, Education Specialist at Riplington and Associates, a Nigeria-based training, advocacy, research and policy organization that uses qualitative and quantitative data to aid their educative work in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. Sanusi discussed from her civil society perspective the challenge of providing education in conflict-affected areas in northeast Nigeria, how much more is needed, the military’s role, what government has and had not done, and how local organizations can help.
TAP spoke to Education Officer and Coordinator of the Education in Emergencies Working Group Nigeria Dr. Judith Giwa-Amu, who facilitates coordination among several humanitarian organizations and federal government towards improved access to education for displaced children in the northeast. This is part of a three-part series on children and education in the northeast. In this interview, Dr. Giwa-Amu shares with us key details about education sector humanitarian response through which conflict-affected children are educated, teachers are being trained, and coordination is happening among all key actors. She also tells us how education of girls is being attended to, and tells us of what is happening in terms of education to Nigerian children who had managed to flee to camps in neighboring countries. She shares her hopes for increasing school enrollment and how larger organizations can bolster support for smaller ones to further improve on delivery of education of this vulnerable population of children in the region.
Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji is the Director of the Borno State-based federal body Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), which is in charge of managing agriculture in Nigeria’s conflict-affected northeastern zone. He has lived in Borno State since 1988 when he started working at the LCRI and has been working with farmers in the region ever since. He speaks to TAP about how violence in the northeast has affected food prices in Nigeria, how farmers in conflict-affected states have fared over the last 6 years, opportunities for agricultural development in the northeast, and what he believes the federal and the region’s state governments must do to get the region’s farmers resettled and the region’s agriculture-based economy working again.
Almost ten months after the abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, the campaign to pressure the government to rescue them persists. This interview features Bring Back Our Girls campaign Strategy Committee member Bukky Shonibare, and she talks to TAP about displacement, government’s role and what she hopes the next four years would bring in terms of improving the security situation in Nigeria’s northeast. She talks about her initiative Adopt a Camp, what ordinary people in more peaceful areas of the northeast are doing to help residents from more troubled regions, and what is needed in the government agencies’ work with displacement communities.
Sen. Ali Ndume, a senator from Borno State representing Chibok Local Government where the abduction of 276 girls took place some three weeks ago, addressed a #BringBackOurGirls sit-in at Unity Fountain in Abuja. This sit-in follows protests against Nigerian government’s seeming inaction following a mass abduction of schoolgirls from a boarding school while they were taking a science exam, and government’s eventual response casting doubt over the number of girl’s abducted.
Yusuf, a youth activist in Maiduguri, speaks to TAP on the ways in which young people are working independently and in tandem with security forces to combat the insecurity in Borno State. He makes interesting observations on the difference in youth-security dynamic in Borno and Yobe States, and the ways in which women contribute to intelligence gathering. You can listen to the interview below. An edited transcript of our conversation follows.
Some of the major issues for young people is obviously safety, but I’m interested in exploring the ways in which young people have been resisting the armed groups.
Ahmed, a young man who used to live in Maiduguri but has since left for Abuja, tells TAP how he lost two younger siblings, his family home and a cousin over the past year due to militia violence. He also talks about how communities used to harbor militants, thinking they were working for religious reasons, but how that has now appeared not to be so. He has asked that his voice be altered before posting his testimony.
There were two of my younger ones that we went home to pay for their school fees. At the end of the day, they went to register when those guys struck and killed the two of them and that’s one bitter experience. Some military men were pursuing one of the guys and was holding gun. We entered into one corner. The people of that area, they are the one who took the guy, brought one of the guys into their home and hid him, instead of releasing the guy to the military to arrest him and then maybe persecute. They said that the man is working for them. With the way things are happening in my place before, we thought these guys were out for something like maybe religion, but from what we are seeing its like it is beyond religion. We cannot know what exactly is happening in my area. Everyone is being attacked. There’s no discrimination against religion, sex, or any other thing. they just attack at random.
According to Halima, a businesswoman who has lived in her neighborhood in Yola for the past 35 years, robberies and armed violence during curfew hours are becoming more and more widespread. She believes that the displacement and armed violence is causing insecurity and societal distrust throughout the region, even in areas that are not seeing the worst of the violence.
You have young guys that have not been able to go to school, or they have been to school but they don’t have jobs. And because of that they use that opportunity to rob, disturbing people, crime… the problem is that everybody, all of us here, we don’t sleep with two eyes closed. We sleep with an eye open. And also, everyone in the community is concerned about this.