Why we didn’t close UNIMAID despite attacks by Boko Haram terrorists – Vice-Chancellor, Aliyu Shugaba
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Professor Aliyu Shugaba, said it took a great deal of resilience for the university to continue operating despite the presence and numerous threats from Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.
Shugaba applauded the determination of the school management and support from all security agencies, hunters and vigilante groups which managed to keep the school premises relatively safe for staff members and students.
The VC 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.
The Professor of Biochemistry added that, even when a Professor of Veterinary Medicine was killed in 2017 by a suicide bomber, rather than giving up and shutting the school down, 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 40,000 students if we chose to shut the school? If we did, the insurgents could have either harmed them or taken them and turned them into 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 inculcated resistance into our students so much that if they hear bomb blasts, they laugh it off and call it 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 that will take over the mantle of leadership if he is also killed,” he noted.