Nigeria: Borno Governor Suspends 200 'Absentee' Teachers

10 December 2019

The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, on Monday ordered the immediate suspension of 200 primary school teachers for not showing up in classes in Bama town.

The governor said records have revealed that the 200 teachers have been absent from school for over a year.

Governor Zulum, a professor, announced their suspension while speaking to journalists in Konduga, a local government headquarters 40km from Maiduguri, the state capital.

The governor was on Saturday in Kala Balge local government, one of the remote communities of Borno that had been cut off by flooding for the past four months.

There, he provided relief items to the displaced communities mostly housed in Rann, the local government headquarters, and some Cameroonian border towns.

The governor, who left Rann to pass the night in Bama on Sunday, spent most of his time on Monday inspecting public infrastructures including schools.

It was during his tour of schools that the government discovered the absence of teachers in eight primary schools visited.

Mr Zulum said he was in Bama local government mainly "to distribute food items to the IDPs".

He said, "so far so good we have distributed food relief to about 12000 returning to the community."

"But we have also in Bama visited the eight primary schools there, and found out that out of the about 300 teachers working there, only about 100 were punctual and always in school.

"About 200 of them are nowhere to be found. They are completely not on the ground.

"We have made our investigations and our findings confirmed so. For the past year, nobody has seen them.

"Therefore, the government will suspend all 200 of them, and we shall recruit another 200 in their place and we shall ensure that normal academic activities resume in Bama."

Meanwhile, the Borno Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Jibrin Mohammed, could not be reached for comments on the suspension of the teachers. His two phone numbers were switched off at the time of filing this report.

According to a 2018 report of the United Nations Children Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Boko Haram has killed 2,300 teachers in the North-east since the start of the insurgency in 2009.

The majority of these teachers were killed in Borno State.

The 2018 "UNESCO global education monitoring" report (GEM), said 19,000 teachers have been displaced in the region, a situation that has affected access to education in the region.


Meanwhile, the governor said the flooding in Bama has plagued the area for four months.

"There is serious flooding in Kala Balge. In the last four (months) there wasn't access to the area," he said.

"We went there and have seen the situation. We took some relief (materials) to them and gave them some cash support so that they can get their food supplies from Cameroon.

"We have also taken some preventive measures to avert the situation.

"Thirdly, we have seen their schools, hospitals, and lodges so that we shall rehabilitate them immediately after the flood subsides. This will enable us to establish civil authority there in order to ensure that people in displacement can return to their communities."

He said by February, three secondary schools will fully resume in Bama.

"We have seen tertiary education which is the College of Education in Bama which is under reconstruction. We shall complete the ongoing rehabilitation, and ensure that they resume next year."

In Konduga where the governor stopped over, Governor Zulum promised "to provide food items to all the IDPs both in Konduga town and in the host communities."

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