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Maiduguri in crisis as lecturers and students flee Boko Haram

The University of Maiduguri situated in Nigeria’s terrorism-plagued Northeast faces an uncertain future after the resignation of many lecturers and students citing an unwillingness to live there.

Talking to reporters in Maiduguri on 6 August, Dani Mamman, the chairman of the university’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, confirmed that over 70 lecturers have resigned since Boko Haram started its terror campaign in the region.

Mamman said that “about five” lecturers had died and three were being held hostage by Boko Haram.

Students numbers are plummeting, too, he said: “The admission figure of students has been dropping since the insurgency started in 2012. We don’t know what will happen to the admission of students this year.”

The mass exodus is already crippling research and learning: “The exit of some lecturers has affected research and learning because some are specialists in their fields. Usually, such [an] exodus affects accreditation of some programmes and courses.”

Mamman said that more lecturers are planning to leave because they fear for their lives. The university’s only hope, he said, is for the government to fortify the university grounds.

“We requested the government to increase security personnel, security gadgets and construction of the 23.7 km perimeter fence. In the interim, the state governor has started building a 10.3 km perimeter fence,” he said.

The federal government has said it will help. Education minister Adamu Adamu has promised that his ministry, together with the country’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund, will provide money to complete the perimeter fencing.

Adamu paid an unscheduled visit to the institution on 5 August to show solidarity with the university community over the repeated suicide attacks in the area. He also condemned the recent killings and abduction of staff of the university who were assisting the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin at Gaji Ganna on 26 July.

The Nation newspaper quoted Adamu as saying that he had considered closing the university because of the lack of  security but that having made the visit, he had changed his mind. “The federal government will not close the university and will provide you with all necessary support,” the minister said.