By Segun Odeleye
The Nation newspaper has a very sad report involving students and lecturers of the university of Maiduguri, Borno state, who are now living with intense fear for their lives.
Due to the operations of violent sect, Boko Haram, many of them have been forced to live like displaced persons, forced out of their residences off campus to find just anywhere to rest their bodies, souls and minds overnight on the campus.
The paper reports that classrooms,mosques and churches are the most common safety valves for them, according to an investigation.
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Some of the lecturers and students told The Nation that they had to abandon their accommodation off campus following threats, real and imagined, from terrorists.
Student Betty from Biu in the state told of the murder of her friend Halma Damcida, at her residence just across the road from the university.
She has been unable to graduate after five years as a student. Betty’s experience is shared by many other students.
Isa Mohammed, a Mass Communication student, said: ”Most of us have to brave it through the town to get to school to take lectures. We cannot even contemplate hostel life because there is nowhere to stay in the hostels.
“Thank God, we have finished our exams. And as you can see, I have to help my mum in her restaurant so that she can pay my school fees next session. My dad used to help us with our finances, but that was until my brothers were slaughtered in cold blood with heavy power saws that were used for cutting huge trees in the village. After that, my mum ran to this place to continue from where the old man stopped.”
The Chairman of the University of the Maiduguri branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr Musa Abdullahi, a sociologist, wants the Federal Government to come to the rescue of the university by imposing a form of state of emergency.
As part of other efforts to ensure the safety of the university residents, calls have been made to construct more houses to accommodate the lecturers and the non-teaching staff. This measure, according to sources, would go a long way to resolve the rising tension between the academic staff and the non-teaching staff.
The source further disclosed that but for the maturity of the academic staff, the lack of housing for the staff would have led to serious crisis on the campus. To ensure that the fragile peace is maintained, the ASUU boss urged President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the visitor to the institution, to act and find lasting solutions before the management loses control of the situation.
According to Abdullahi, “before the crisis, we were not complaining. But after all these killings of our colleagues, nobody wants to go and live outside the campus for now, which is why we have a jam-packed situation in this place.
“No day passes without one complaint or the other from our colleagues who have lost the basic comfort of shelter needed to work. The dilapidated state of teaching facilities, and even the houses for teachers in the university community, is a clear indication that the last strike embarked upon by these teachers was more than j