6th September, 2012
By Joe Igbokwe
My heart bled profusely when I read Wednesday morning that Boko Haram militants burnt down Gwange 3 primary school in Maiduguri, Borno State. My heart bled because I still find it difficult to believe that this terrible crime against humanity will be committed in the 21st century. It shows the level these guys have sunk into-the bottomless pit, the point of no return and the land of the dead.
The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi tells us that Boko Haram came into being in the North because of poverty but here are these beasts of the earth getting very busy destroying the basic foundation and the bridge to get out of poverty. This is coming at a time when the whole world has discovered that the gap between education and development is a closed one. Without knowing it the Boko Haram militants are busy telling the world that they should be forgotten and left to rot. 1969 Nigerian Educational Research Council titled A Philosophy for Nigerian Education states that primary Education should serve to:
help the child realize himself; help the child to relate to others in an atmosphere of mutual understanding; promote effective citizenship through civic responsibility; promote self and national economic efficiency; facilitate national consciousness in the area of national unity and survival; promote social and political awakening; create scientific and technological awareness.
There are also goals considered appropriate for Nigerian secondary schools and universities which time and space will not permit me to recall here. It may sound foolish and mere waste of time in the 21st century to try to educate the Northern Boko Haram on the meaning of education but let me be foolish here if I can to convince even one Boko Haram member to stop this brigandage.
Socrates says “The aim of education is to dispel error and discover truth”. Herbert Spenser says “To prepare us for a complete living is the function which education has to discharge”, while John Henry Pestalozzi says “Education means a natural, progressive and systematic development of all the powers”.
When the North launched the battle to resolve the Boko Haram criminality recently with 41 wise-men committee, I heaved a sigh of relief that we will soon see light at the dark end of the tunnel. I still believe so and I pray that they will succeed to save what needs to be saved of the North. Wise people say that when schools are built, the prison gates are closed. Those who destroy schools should go and build more prisons. Northern leaders have a choice to make here.
I repeat once again that when there is a problem to be solved, the man who proffers solution to the problem becomes the leader. We are waiting patiently to see the new leaders in the North who will call these criminals to order. The Northern Nigeria as it is today is finished, desolate, down and out. Northern Nigeria has not only become an embarrassment to Nigeria, it has become an embarrassment to Africa and the world.
Northern Nigeria has become a land where all the devils in the world have made their homeland. It is now a land that devours its inhabitants, the land of blood suckers, a killing field, a land where life is nasty, brutish and short, the Island of Patmos , a no man’s land, the land of the dead, the haven where criminals speak for decent men and women.
Blind men can never be the Anya Ndi-Ugwu ji ahu uzo. Crippled men cannot be the Akwa-Akwulu Ndi-Ugwu. Deaf and dumb men can never be the Okwuluoha Ndi-Ugwu. Mad men can never be the Agbawodikeizu or Ebubedike Ndi-Ugwu.
•Igbokwe wrote this piece from Lagos