By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, commended efforts of the outgoing administration of Governor Kashim Ibrahim Shettima of Katsina State in promoting education as counter strategy to Boko Haram ideology and insurgency.
President Buhari gave the commendation at a ceremony to commission six model schools, out of 40 world class facilities established to provide quality education to mostly children of the poor, and those turned orphans by the 10-year insurgency.
The President said expansion of educational facilities in the state was the best response to Boko Haram’s actions to stifle education, especially that of the girl child.
According to him, “This is a wise response to Boko Haram terrorism. Education plays a significant and remedial role in the efforts to provide equal opportunity and achieve a higher standard of living for citizens.”
President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shebu assured Governor Shettima and Borno indigenes that his administration is still focused on recovering the abducted Chibok and Dapchi school girls.
He said, “We will not give up. As a President, Nigerian and parent, I share in the agony of parents whose children have been abducted. We will do all that can be done to reunite them with their families.”
The President said an end was already near for Boko Haram insurgency.
Be commended Shetima for his strides in provision of infrastructure, expansion of educational opportunities, especially for the girl-child, improving health facilities and stimulating the manufacturing sector in spite of distractions by Boko Haram.
In his remarks, Governor Shettima said the entire state remained eternally grateful to the President for the succour he brought by providing good and responsive leadership.
“We are grateful for the succour you have brought to our people. Nigeria has never had a leader with as much passion and love for Borno State,” he said.
The governor expressed optimism that the state’s massive investment in education will pay off in due course.
At the event, the Shehu of Borno, His Eminence Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai extoled President Buhari’s leadership qualities, and his passion for empowering ordinary Nigerians through youth programmes, investments in agriculture, provision of stable power and security.
While condoling with the Armed Forces on loss of officers and men, he promised a regular update by traditional rulers on all security threats.
President Buhari commissioned schools with boarding facilities for about 1,200 students, while 1,000 will be day students. The schools will provide free education, uniforms, sandals and two meals for students. And the non-boarding students will get bicycles.
Two of the schools he commissioned were named “Muhammadu Buhari Academy,” and “Yemi Osinbajo Primary School”.
Six of the schools were named after Amb. Babagana Kingibe, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Asheik Jarma, a former elected governor of the state; late Alhaji Mala Kachalla, another former civilian governor and a “mega primary school” was named after late Ibrahim Damcida, a distinguished career civil servant.
One of the schools was branded “Aliko Dangote Academy”, in honour of Africa’s richest man for his “enormous contributions” in reconstructing the state after destructions by Boko Haram.
Significant projects commissioned by the President were Borno State industrial hub, incorporating 16 integrated manufacturing plants, which produces varied products like plastic mats, candies, sacks, PVCs, solar power panels, biscuits and cassava powder.
Other projects were a state of the art Radio Diagnostic Complex at the State Specialist Hospital, a housing estate named “Zanna Umar Mustapha Gardens’’ which provides 246 3-bedroom houses and a newly completed “Baga road’’.