BORNO State governor, Mr Kashim Shettima, on Monday, lamented that the level of destruction by the heinous activities of the Boko Haram sect has taken the state backward by 50 years, with educational institutions worst affected.
He, however, said the state is now safe for rehabilitation efforts to take place, as well as rebuilding and expansion of educational institutions.
Shettima made this remark in Abuja, when the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Adamu Abubakar Rasheed, presented a letter of recognition for the establishment of Borno State University to him.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume and state officials, told the NUC boss that before the expiration of his tenure, the state would forward request for recognition of additional two universities that would be specialised institutions.
“At the risk of sounding repetitive, Borno State has been taken 50 years backward, no thanks to the vicious Boko Haram we inherited in 2011. As we all know, hate for education is the fundamental principle of the Boko Haram.
“This explains why they focused so much attack on educational institutions. In the educational sector alone, a total of 5,335 classrooms and other academic buildings were destroyed by insurgents across 512 primary schools, 38 secondary schools and two tertiary institutions in Borno State.
“The objective was to bring down education in a state that has a long history of learning. As far back as 625 years ago, Sultan Uthman Bin Idris of Borno, in his communication with Sultan Barquq of Egypt in 1391, portrayed Borno empire as one that takes pride in writing and learning.
“Today, Boko Haram wants to reverse that noble pride, but we will not let them do it. We shall continue to invest heavily on education,” he said.
The governor disclosed that Borno State had seven tertiary institutions and in spite of the Boko Haram insurgency and its huge financial impacts, the state was in the category of states that pay the best salaries to tertiary workers and “most importantly, we do not owe salaries.”
He noted that it would be a major responsibility to add a university to the too many expenditure, which include ongoing reconstruction of destroyed communities.
“If we are serious about ending Boko Haram, if we are serious about rebuilding Borno and repositioning it for the future, there is nothing like providing quality and affordable education to our teeming population of uneducated youths,” he said.
Shettima, revealed that contracts of N3.4 billion had already been awarded for the first phase of physical development of the university, including the construction of five faculties of Science, Social Science, Management Science, Arts and Education, while students hostels and other facilities were being put in place.