IMPACT OF GUNMEN ATTACKS ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN BARKIN-LADI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
IMPACT OF GUNMEN ATTACKS ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN BARKIN-LADI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
The main purpose of this research work was to determine the Impact of Gunmen Attacks on the Academic Performance of Students in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area. The research design used for this study was the survey research design. A sample size of 100 respondents was used. The questionnaire was used to collect data from the respondents. The findings of the research indicated that land dispute, religious intolerance, poor governance and poor security are causes of gunmen attacks in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area; some schools were deserted for fear of gunmen attacks, parents afraid of send their children to school, students don’t concentrate in classes because of the psychological trauma caused by gunmen attacks previously, some students were absent from school because they are in the IDP camps. In line with the findings, the following recommendations were given among others: government should provide resources for schools that are affected by the gunmen attacks, communities affected should seek dialogue between themselves and these gunmen to find a lasting solution to these incessant attacks, more security should be deployed to these affected areas, especially the schools, government should review the justice system of the nation in order to tackle the issue of gunmen attacks in the selected local government, illegal possession of firearms and weapons should be tackled seriously by the government, social studies should be used as a tool to inculcate tolerance among dwellers of all communities.
1.1 Background to the Study
Over the last few years, the threat of the Boko Haram insurgency in north east Nigeria has gradually waned, yet a more deadly and far-reaching conflict has emerged. Over 10,000 people across three states (Benue, Kogi and Plateau) in north central region have been killed by suspected herdsmen. Attacks later became incessant and brutal. In February 2016, over 300 people died in a single attack on a community in central state of Benue, from the herders commonly called the “gunmen”. In the same state, hundreds of people have been killed in several attacks since then. The conflict is an old one but one that has suddenly spiralled out of control. The nomadic herdsmen have cattle but declining space to feed them on. Farmers accuse the herdsmen of using their land to graze their cattle and infringing on their rights. Herdsmen have complained that the land available to graze has decline, in part, blaming communities for restricting the land available to them (Akinwotu, 2016:1).
Geo-politically, Nigeria is made up of six geopolitical zones with the North-Central Region having six states which include: Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau states. Nigeria`s Federal Capital Territory Abuja is also located in the region of the country. The region lies completely in the central portion of Nigeria. And its central location account for part of the reasons why it is often called the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. The region is a combination of two vegetation belts. Half portion of this region fall within the Sudan savannah while the remaining half within the Guinea savannah (GohChe Leong and Adeleke, 2014:112). The vegetation of the region is a wonderful blessing to the people of the area-for it being bestowed on them, a fertile soil conducive for serious agricultural production. Grasses in this region which are green and fresh throughout the seasons provide one of the best foliages for animal consumption in the whole of Nigeria and sub-Saharan region of Africa. Grassland in the Benue and Niger rivers provide the best grazing site in the country and the whole of western Sudan. The agricultural potentials of the region ahead of other parts of the country is glaring and Benue in particular with food production capacity sound enough to feed the whole of West African sub-region is code named the “Food Basket of the Nigerian Nation”. Nigeria`s two major rivers (Rivers Benue and Niger) flow across the region and this additional reason make the region richly endowed in water resources and fertile land suitable for crop and animal production. Niger State within the region boast of three gigantic Dams (Kainji, Shiroro and Gurara Dams) providing Hydro Electricity Power to all the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
However, the Fulani herders in most cases settled in fertile areas to rear their cattle and when the migration continued to be dictated by economic and socio-political factors, increased trends of conflicts between the herders and their host communities (farmers) escalated. Many Nigerians lost their lives, properties/ farmlands or crops every year to Fulani herders. The conflicts between Gunmen and farmers came into existence as a result of encroachment of farmlands by the Fulani herders.
Nigeria is under a severe internal and security threat as the threat has political, economic and environmental dimensions. Each of these dimensions has critically affected the stability of the nation and can be traced to many factors in which the Fulani-herdsmen appear to be major factor. Most worrisome in the present development is the pillaging, raping, killing and kidnapping by the so called Gunmen. Stories are found in the national dailies on daily basis of how these shepherds strategically attack several communities and houses, with sophisticated weapon: AK-47.
Farmers have their crops to protect and Herdsmen their livestock to protect. This simply implies that value of land for both crop and animal production is increasing across Nigeria. But then, Herdsmen have been present to varying degree in all the thirty-six states across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria including Abuja the nation`s Federal Capital Territory. And in all these regions, conflict between them and farmers have been reported on several and different occasions. But the occurrence of such confrontation in the north central region of the country surpassed that of the other regions of Nigeria put together. The pressure on land is increasing the movement of herdsmen from the Sahel region of the country to the vast grassland in the central area of the country. This increase in movement is often accompanied with pressure on available land in the central region of the country. The scale of deaths incurred have always created tensions on how a seemingly previously contained conflict could lead to massacres that today stands as one of the major threats to national security, peace and unity in Nigeria. Investigating alternative measures that can be adopted to avoid future re-occurrence of the conflict is the task which the Researchers intend to achieve in this research.
This research is carried out in order to investigate the influence of Fulani-Herdsmen attack on educational institutions in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State. The research covers all districts of Barikin-Ladi Local Government Area. This research will be done through interview with various people of the area to find out the influence of Fulani-herdsmen attack on educational institutions in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area.
However, the historical existence of Barikin-Ladin cannot be complete without the mention of the woman “Malama Ladi” and the most ancient tin mining is the major economic factor that has attracted and helped people to settle down.
The Local Government Area comprises of districts which include the following:
Ropp Gindin Akwati Jiwal
Ghana Ropp Kura Falls Muzat
Heipang Sho Gashish
Fan Tanti Babba Marit Mazat
Kassa Dorowan Babuje Nding
Ghanan Daji Kati Habu N.T.V
Education is crucial to the development of individual and the nation. Its continuous growth and quality improvement depend on a number of factors; some of these factors are provision of infrastructures, quality of teachers, payment of teachers’ salary on time, provision and constant revision of the curriculum and provision of adequate funds for infrastructures (Ogbonnaya, 2013). The factors mentioned above are paramount and can bring the desired growth where they are pursued and provided. On the other hand, where there is any inhibition and they are not pursued, it stifles growth and slows down the education process. Apart from the factors mentioned above, there are some other factors that could stifle the process of growth in the education industry, these factors are incidental factors identified by the researchers. Incidental factors in the context of this work include natural disaster, insurgencies, and crises from the Gunmen. When there is natural disaster in an area, it affect enrolment because many people will run from their place of abode to a safer place, when there is insurgencies for instance, Boko Haram in Nigeria or the Gunmen crises, many people will flee the area for safety, these affect the population of the area generally, school enrolment and the quality of educational improvement.
There have been public outcry and expression of worry over the declining school enrolment in Nigeria and Barkin-Ladi local government in particular. These inturn affect educational quality improvement in the area. School enrolment has been an area of discourse neglected by researchers, but which has now become a force to be reckoned with as far as growth in the education sector is concerned. In most rural area across the country, for over two decades, there has been a steady decline in school enrolment (Obi, 2001). This decline in school enrolment is further worsened by some of the incidental factors mentioned above. In Barkin-Ladi local government, Nigeria, for over three years now, the researchers have observed that there has been a steady decline in school enrolment as a result of fear of Gunmen attacks in Barkin-Ladi local government area, some of the major towns and commercial cities in the local government area were attacked and people fled for their lives. These attacks have affected school enrolment, the quality of teaching and educational quality improvement advocated for all in this millennium. The Federal government of Nigeria and authorities of Barkin-Ladi Local Government have made attempts to ensure that peace returned to the Local Government area and that the internally displaced persons return from camps to their homes, but this seems not to have yielded meaningful results as most people are yet to return. This in turn affects the population of the area and school enrolment. The need for normalcy in Barkin-Ladi local government of Nigeria for improved school enrolment necessitates this study.
It is in the light of the above discussion that the researchers saw the necessity to embark on this research which is to investigate the Impact of gunmen attacks on the academic performance of students in Barkin Ladi LGA
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The reports about Gunmen attacks all over the country are horrifying and many Nigerians now see them as Enemies of the Nigerian citizens. A report published by the Small Business Ecosystem (SMB Intelligence), a mining and research firm on the attacks of the herdsmen in the north central region of the country accused the federal government of carelessness through unhealthy silence on the “Terror in the food basket”. The report maintains that the attacks were not only on life and property but agriculture as well. The attacks on Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states left many dead and thousands displaced. The report which saw the herdsmen menace as bigger problem than the Boko Haram insurgency said 2500 people were killed annually by the sect while the herdsmen killed 2000 in north central region alone in 2015. The report also said that, “Because the government has failed to respond adequately by protecting lives and property of the citizens in the region, the herdsmen have grown bolder, and their perceived attempt to wipe out the native ethnic groups has gradually grown into low intensity warfare. Even where the traditional rulers have attempted to call the herdsmen to peace meetings, the herdsmen routinely take advantage of these occasions to perform reconnaissance for future attacks.”(Ibekwe, 2015: 3)
The reports making the rounds say the herdsmen not only kill, maim and rape women; they also deploy their herds into host communities’ farms. The law prohibiting the use of unlicensed arms is not obeyed by the herdsmen who wield sophisticated weapons and use them openly. The activities of the herdsmen appear to be organized and serial in nature and happening in all the geo-political zones of the country. The Tivs are forever locked up in battle with them. The same can be said of Berom, Tarok, Irigwe,Mwaghavul and ron in Plateau state where the people have been made to flee their communities.
The menace of Fulani-herdsmen in our society cannot be over-emphasized. It is highly plaguing in the sense that it makes both teachers and students feel insecure within the confines of the classroom thereby affecting their concentration levels. This goes further to affect students’ performance academically and in some cases it results to the absence of both teachers and students from school which in turn leads to the incompletion of syllabus; thus affecting teaching and learning in general. With Fulani-herdsmen attack in place, there is a high tendency for unserious students to be tempted to participate in such violent retaliation which in turn can lead to the loss of lives. Another problem associated with Fulani-herdsmen attack is the absence of government support in terms of provision of infrastructures and teaching and learning facilities which in turn also affects the process of teaching and learning.
This goes further to affect students performance academically and in some cases it results to the absence of both teachers and students from school which in turn leads to the incompletion of syllabus; thus affecting teaching and learning in general. With conflict in place, there is high tendency for unserious students to be tempted to participate in such conflicts which in turn can lead to the loss of lives. Another problem associated with conflict is the absence of government support in terms of provision of infrastructures and teaching and learning facilities which in turn also affects the process of teaching and learning. Education is disrupted once there is Gunmen attack in the community. In Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area, attacks on the community has serious effect on education. These effects include: the absence of students
It is in light of this that this research investigates the Impact of gunmen attacks on the academic performance of students in Barkin Ladi LGA
1.3. Purpose of the Study
The broad aim of this study is to assess the Impact of gunmen attacks on the academic performance of students in Barkin Ladi LGA. Other specific objectives include the following:
- To find out the causes of Fulani-herdsmen attacks on Barkin-Ladi Local government Area.
- To determine how gunmen attacks affect academic performance of students in Barkin-Ladi.
- To proffer possible solutions to Gunmen attacks on educational institutions in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area?
1.4. Research Questions
In order to serve as a guide to the researchers, the following research questions have been formulated: answers will be provided to the following questions at the end of the research:
- What are the causes of Fulani-herdsmen attacks on Barkin-Ladi Local government Area?
- How do Gunmen attacks affect academic performance of the students in Barkin-Ladi?
- What are the possible solutions to Gunmen attacks on educational institutions in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area?
1.5. Significance of the Study
The importance of this study cannot be overemphasized especially now that the attacks of Fulani-herdsmen are prevalent in the country, especially in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State. In the light of this, the study is essentially aimed at unveiling the influence of Fulani-herdsmen attack on educational institutions in the selected local government. The study therefore will be of benefit to all educational stakeholders which are students, teachers, government and parents as well.
The study will be helpful in identifying best possible ways through which students can cover-up for those periods of time been absent from school due to incidence of fleeing from Gunmen attacks.
The study will as well be beneficial to parents as it intends to unravel best possible ways in which parents can inculcate in their children the positive attitude of peace promotion and avoidance of indulgence in criminal activities.
This study will also be significant to government at all levels in ensuring the promotion of peace within communities and the best possible ways through which conflict can be prevented. It will also bring a lasting peace to Barkin-Ladi Local Government so that students and teachers will not be afraid to attend school anymore.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study covers the Impact of gunmen attacks on the academic performance of students in Barkin Ladi Local Government Education Area Directorate of Plateau State in which ten (10) schools were selected. However, despite the fact that the study is restricted to Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, its findings, can be generic that is, it can be generalised to other parts of the country as well.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Implication: something that is implied or involved as a natural consequence of something else.
Students: Is a person studying at a school, college, or university
Influence: a change or changed state occurring as a direct result of action by somebody or something else
Academic performance: This is one’s ability in academic work which may either be excellent, good, fair or poor in performance.
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