…Over 18,000 of them taking refuge in IDPs camps
…Structures in over 50 primary schools completely destroyed
By Peter Duru
Makurdi- The Chairman of the Benue State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Rev. Philip Tachin has disclosed that over 20,000 primary school children have been forced out of school in Benue since the beginning of 2018 as a result of the incursions of armed militant herdsmen in several communities of the state.
He explained that of the number, close to 18,000 of them were taking refuge in various Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps established by the state government to cater for the need of the victims of the crisis.
Rev. Tachin made the disclosure at the weekend shortly after he led members of the board’s management team on an inspection of completed and ongoing primary school projects constructed under the Benue State Government and the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, intervention fund.
He said, “the renewed herdsmen attacks in 2018 also led to the complete destruction of structures in over 50 public primary schools in the affected areas and communities of the state.
“The development is quite a huge challenge for the state government given the amount of resources that would be required to rebuild the affected structures.”
After inspecting the Local Government Education Authority, LGEA, Primary Schools at Gbajimba and Mbabegha in Guma local government area as well as St. Theresa’s Primary School in Makurdi, Tachin disclosed that aside the initial 740, more primary schools had been slated for rehabilitation before the end of Governor Samuel Ortom’s first tenure.
He said, “from available records and our findings, of the 740 projects 426 have been completed while 229 were still under construction and rehabilitation while 79 of the projects have been terminated.”
According to him, the board also procured thousands of modern plastic seats, tables, computers and other learning aids using the counterpart funds.
Vanguard recalls that the Benue State Government under Ortom led administration on assumption of office paid N3.8 billion as counterpart fund to match UBEC’s N3.8 billion and accessed the total of N7.6billion for the facelift of primary schools in the state.
The board embarked on 740 projects to give the schools a new lease of life.