Palpable fear and tension have engulfed Students of the University of Maiduguri , following a clash between the Nigerian soldiers and Boko Haram insurgents.
Liveschoolnew.com.ng grapevine gathered that the Nigeria Soldier repelled Boko Haram insurgents from gaining access into Maiduguri.
Our correspondent gathered that the insurgents had attempted to capture the state capital through the Maiduguri-Damboa and Maidugri Konduga axis of the state..
A Law student of UNIMAID, Gayus Mustapha, said he heard an explosion at 4am, as he was about praying. According to him, he went back to sleep thinking that it was the normal explosion that had become common incident in the area. But the ceaseless gunfire in the morning filled him with fear.
“When I woke up again at 6am, it was something else as the explosions were more frequent and close,” he recalled.
Guns boomed for several hours and reverberating explosions were heard as soldiers battled the insurgents. Students, who were supposed to go for Sunday service at the University chapel located at the eastern end of the university, deserted the venue; few others that attended the service did so to demonstrate their faith.
A worshipper at the chapel said, “I attended service because staying in the hostel makes no sense. When we were in the service, explosions still reverberated across the campus but we were not deterred. It was like nothing was happening. We observed our regular order of service and we stayed till the end.”
During the exchange of gunfire, the university became tense. Students who worshipped outside the campus observed that soldiers manning the university major gates disallowed entry and exit into the institution. Though everybody was going about their usual business, there was palpable fear that the insurgents might target the university.
Whenour correspondent visited the Sardauna male hall, students sat in groups discussing the explosions and contemplating what might happen next. One of them, Ayuba Yahaya, who spoke with this reporter, said, “This is not the first time we would be hearing explosions like this, but this one is sinister. It is more than the usual and regular explosions. And when this kind of thing happens, fleeing isn’t a wise decision because some people will be running away from where you are running to. That is why it is good to stay calm and observe the direction of the attack before you make any move.”
In his own narration, Jide Olatokun, a new student of the university quipped, “Around 11.30pm, we were discussing different issues in our room when we heard explosions at a distant. My roommates woke up in fear. Everywhere was dark, so we didn’t know what was happening. After about 15 minutes, the bigger explosion went off. It was so close. We picked our ID cards and started running out of the hostel towards another hostel. We later returned to our hostel when everything died down.”
A 200 level student of the university, Emmanuel Paul said, “At such a time like this, it is good to be prepared. What used to be a casual experience can turn sour anytime. That is why I’m always ready.”
Many religious activities scheduled for that Sunday were cancelled and students went to their classrooms to prepare for their examination the following day. A final year Agric student, Victor Ndekwe, who spoke with our reporter, said, “One thing I’d learnt in my series of experience with explosions is that they don’t make any difference. If explosions rock neighboring communities of the university at 2am, it does not stop the lectures slated for 8am and the fact that there were series of explosions today doesn’t mean there won’t be exams tomorrow. That is why despite this morning explosion, I am still in class tonight to prepare for my tomorrow exams.”
As the students recover from the shock of the incidents, they were also traumatized by the seven-month darkness in the area, following the vandalization of transmission cables that transmit electric power to the state. The transmission cables were destroyed along Maiduguri-Damboa road in July last year and since then it’s been series of challenging times in the power transmission lines.
With erratic power supply from the public line, students struggle with the daily five-hour power supply provided by the university management between 6pm and 11pm. This has impeded the efficiency of telecommunication masts and denied students the means of charging their phones and other electronic devices for communication. They can’t watch news as it unfolds and can’t access social media for breaking stories. This development persisted until last week when light was restored on campus. It was a challenging experience for students as they shared their experiences during this agonizing period.
According to Idris Suleiman, “These are challenging times. The odds are just overwhelming. From the fear of the insurgency to the absence of phone network, to the absence of lights and water problems. These situations haven’t really encouraged learning. At the end of the day’s work, you would want to go to class to read but there would be no light; the light provided by the school lasts for just five hours and it is even within the hostels. There are no lights in the classes for night reading. And the lamps do not have sufficient energy stored in them to last for a long time. Exams periods are much more challenging.”
Another student, Blessing Samuel, said moments of explosions were the most dreadful periods on campus. According to him, once the light in the hostels were off at 11pm, darkness descended on the whole university.
“And explosions in neighbouring communities at such times are disheartening. When you hear the shattering sounds, you don’t know where they are coming from and you don’t know where to run to. All you can see is darkness and sometimes sparkles of gunfire at a far distance,” he said.
Another student, Emeka Obiano, said the poor power supply also affected mobile telecommunication network in Maiduguri. “If you try to make an emergency call, you may discover that there is no phone network. This may last for as long as 24 hours. Sometimes, phone network signals are so limited that you cannot make calls for several hours,” he lamented.
Tope Oyeniyi, a Computer Engineering student of the university, who expressed joy at the restoration of electricity to Maiduguri said, “I was the happiest person on earth the day electricity was restored. Around 5pm that day, I heard loud shouts and bangs from students. As I peeped out of the window to see the cause of the celebration, I noticed lights in the sockets. I jumped up. I was very happy. Life without electricity supply is like living in the stone-age, especially for those of us in an academic environment. There is no light to read, charge phones, laptops and so on.”
He further added, “Even the five hours electricity supply from hostel generators isn’t always a guarantee. I live in Sardauna Hall and because we share a generator with two other halls, we usually rotate the light every night and each hall will have it for just three hours every day. It was recently that the university management brought a bigger generator for us, so we could have light for five hours.”
A student blogger, Chris Jacob, noted that the absence of light has not encouraged ICT development on the campus. He stated that there were times he wanted to upload information on his blog or access information from there but there would be no way to do so.
He said, “There were many times all the cybercafes on campus would be down because there is no light. They would claim they don’t have fuel or there is no fuel around town. ATM cash points on campus too would just go blank apparently because there is no electricity supply. It has not really encouraged ICT development on campus. It is really setting the students back and putting us at a disadvantage.”
The good news is, light has now been restored back to the campus and the students are, at present, celebrating stable power supply.
This article was sent to schoolwatch.com.ng by Taiwo, a 400 level student of Human Anatomy, of UNIMAID via SHARE YOUR NEWS HERE. You can also submit your story and get it publish.
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