The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Prof. Aliyu Shugaba, has disclosed how the University managed to remain in operation despite the presence of Boko Haram terrorists in Borno state.
The VC said a combination of resilience on the part of the school management and the support of all security agencies, hunters and vigilante groups managed to keep the school premises relatively safe.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon in Abuja when he paid a courtesy call on Image Merchants Promotions Limited, IMPR, publishers of PRNigeria and Economic Confidential, Mr Shugaba said the management of the University had sensitized all the staff and students on security measures, while beefing up the protection of its perimeter fences to ward off attacks from the insurgents.
The Professor of Bio-chemistry added that even when a Professor of Veterinary Medicine was killed in 2017 by suicide bomber, rather than giving up and shutting the school, he and his management staff opted to be more proactive on the issue of security.
The VC noted that the security situation was so tense that there was a time the Minister of Education visited Maiduguri with the aim of closing the school but he and his staff and students resisted it and chose to defy the challenges.
“We had about 40,000 student population that time and all the roads leading out of the city had either been shut for fear of Boko Haram or taken over by Boko Haram elements.
“Even the only one working that time, the Maiduguri-Yobe-Kano road still contained a lot of Boko Haram threats.
“So where and to whom are we releasing these 40000 students if we chose to shut the school? If we did, the insurgents could have either harmed them or taken them and turned them to terrorists.
“So we decided to stay in school to protect them and continued our activities of teaching, learning and research,” the VC said.
He added that: “Right now, we have so much inculcated resistance into our students that if they hear bomb blasts, they laugh it off and call it to ring tunes.”
“We are not afraid of Boko Haram at all. We have now instituted a smooth transition process in the School in such a way that if the present VC is killed, there is an immediate successor who also has an immediate successor who will take over the mantle of leadership if he is also killed,” he noted.
The renowned academic also informed the gathering that the University has turned the Boko Haram challenge into an opportunity to improve its services in significant ways, adding that the University now has the best department for studying violent extremism and also a massive Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
He thanked the IMPR management and staff for being professional in terms of credibility, authority and balance in news writing and reporting.
Reacting to the VC’s partnership offer, the IMPR boss, Yushau Shuaib, pledged to reciprocate in that regard.
Thanking the VC and his management team for the visit, Mr Shuaib commended the delegation for the great job they are doing in keeping the University afloat in the face of life-threatening dangers.
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