Last weekend, the Islamist radical terror group Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden,” butchered 50 students at an agricultural college in Nigeria. They struck a dormitory at the Yobe State College of Agriculture in the middle of the night. The group is not strong in Yobe, but have a prominent presence in neighboring Borno.
Sagir Adam, 21, spoke to the BBC’s Isa Sansui about the attack. He told them “it was a night of horror” and wants to return. However his parents do not want him to go back until Boko Haram’s threat is gone. Yobo is the poorest state in Nigeria and most of the residents are farmers, which explains why the school is popular with them. However, the state is becoming more like a desert and makes farming difficult.
Adam’s parents are not the only ones concerned for their children. Many parents have told their children they are not going to return. Nigeria placed three states under emergency state because of Boko Haram.
“I always live imagining I can be killed. No-one is sure of what will happen,” Potiskum resident Kadai Musa, who has three wives and 15 children, told the BBC about life under the state of emergency.
He says none of his children have gone to school in the last six months because of fears of further attacks.
“We no longer care about anything else except to live and see the next day,” he says.
Class sizes are shrinking due to Boko Haram and the unions may not allow teachers to return. They want and demand security, but Gujba, where the school is located, is remote. The two sons of Ishaku Lawan, a 60-year-old driver, survived the dorm attack.
“I am grateful to Allah my sons survived,” he told the BBC.
“After previous school attacks in Yobe state, we have been asking government to provide security in other schools but nothing has been done. Now the worst has happened.”
But Lawan is willing to do anything to make sure his sons are educated.
“I want my sons to be educated. I am 60 and a driver – I don’t want my sons to be like me. I will look for a school in a state where there is security,” he said.
The school implemented curfews and banned motorcycles because of drive-by shootings by the terror group. Muhammed Abba, a civil servant in Damaturu, cannot visit his mother anymore because of the attacks. The trip is an hour away in Maiduguri, but he said the trip by road is a suicide mission.