Besides striving to propagate Islam in a questionable bloody manner, another thrust of the philosophy of Boko Haram is condemnation of Western education. Many students, for embracing Western education, were slaughtered and several others abducted by members of Boko Haram, in the northeastern part of Nigeria. Over a million school children and their family members were displaced within and outside Nigeria due to insurgency. Many of the displaced people were not accommodated within the Nigerian government camps. Some of the non-accommodated displaced persons claimed to have seen some agents of Boko Haram sheltering as displaced persons in some of the government camps. In February 2015, UNICEF reports that 804,732 displaced people live outside government camps among host communities, compared with only 101,572 displaced persons who live in government camps, where sub-standard educational programmes are formally available.
Many displaced children have had their formal education disrupted for one, two, or three years, by activities of insurgency in northeastern Nigeria. There have been various local and international struggles towards helping displaced children continue education. Boko Hazards: We Dare! is a photo narration on some of the efforts of displaced persons living outside government camps towards educating their children, amidst insecurities and other challenges around their vicinity.
Strory & Images by Immanuel Afolabi
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Children play volleyball at Deeper Life Camp Ground, a non-governmental camp for displaced persons at Kwana Waya, Yola South, Adamawa State. Most of the displaced children prefer psycho-social activities to formal education. Most villages affected by insurgency are educationally poor. This is one of the reasons formal education fails to thrive among children of displaced persons.
Children participate in skipping at the Deeper Life Camp Ground, where locally organized formal education was eventually stopped due to low turn-out of children of displaced persons. Many children of IDPs prefer psycho-social activities to formal education.
At Sangere in Girei, Adamawa state, are students and pupils some of whom have lost either one or both of their parents to insurgency. At the same location, one of such victims poses for a personal portrait.
Ten year-old Ruth Bitrus is an orphan from Adamawa state. Her father had died prior to Boko Haramâs invasion of her town, Michika, from where she managed to escape with her mother. Her mother, unfortunately, was eventually killed by members of Boko Haram for refusing to follow the sect, after she was caught in her house in Michika, where she tried to salvage some of her properties.
Parents of many displaced children complain of their inabilities to afford school uniforms and educational materials for their children in public school. Therefore, many of the few displaced children who attend school are encouraged to attend schools in any kind of clothes. A water bottle is the only item brought to class by these four displaced children.
Returnee school children at Lassa, Borno state
Displaced children being publicly addressed during a general assembly in school for displaced children, at Sangere, Girei, Yola, Adamawa state