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Boko Haram: Borno Teachers Seek Compensation For Slain Colleagues

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SAN FRANCISCO, May 22, (THEWILL) â€' Teachers in Borno State Thursday asked for the payment of compensation for their colleagues killed in the last three years in the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno and Yobe States.

They made the demand as they joined their colleagues in a nationwide to protest against the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram gunmen in Chibok on April 14.

Lamenting the slow pace the efforts aimed at rescuing the abducted girls by the Federal Government were going, the teachers, joined other teachers across the country in shutting down all public schools in solidarity with the call by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) as they staged a peaceful protest to the Government House Maiduguri, the state capital.

As the marched through the streets of Maiduguri, they displaced placards which read: 'Boko Haram leaders are educated, don't deceive other,' 'Leave our schools alone, Boko Haram,' 'Bring back our girls, safe and alive,' 'We demand immediate release of abducted girls,' Education is a right Chibok girls must be brought back to school,' 'Over 170 teachers were killed,' 'Support government to crush insurgency.'

Other placards displayed by the teachers also read: 'We taught you not to kill,' 'Pay compensation to families of murdered teachers,'

'Our girls must go to school,' 'You have killed 173 teachers, but have not killed our patriotism,' '..Enough of the killing,' 'Vulnerable schools should be fenced,' and 'Don't mortgage the future of our girls.'

The Deputy Chairman of the Borno NUT, Comrade Bako Lawan, who led the protest, said: 'The insurgency which started around 2009 has claimed the lives of 170 teachers of primary and post primary in the state.

'We wish to also reach out to the families left behind to extend our condolences, the most recent one being the six teachers who were slain in their school G.S.S Dikwa on the night of 12th March, 2014 and their families.'

Lamenting that family members of six teachers killed in a secondary school in Dikwa local government area of the state are still being held by the gunmen since March when they were abducted, he flayed the continuous closure of schools in the state due to the activities of the insurgents as he urged both the Federal and the Borno State governments to provide adequate security in all schools.

He warned that teachers in the state will remain at home even when the schools are re-opened, if the government fails to provide adequate security.

Urging the Federal Government to stand up to the challenges and end the unwanted destruction of lives and properties, he called on the state to compensate the 173 slain teachers as he delivered a protest letter to Governor Kashim Shettima to be delivered to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Responding to the demands of the protesting teachers, Shettima said the 173 teachers died fighting the right cause.

According to the governor, 'Education is the fundamental right of each and every child in this country and in this world, it is so sad that in this century that some people want us to backslide into primitive era. They want us to be using hoes and cutlasses, they want us to go back and be using only herbs for medication but ironically these lunatics are using guns and ammunitions produced using modern technology to kill innocent souls, what a contradiction.'

The governor added that 'our goals now is how to get back our girls safe and alive' as he implored the people of the state to remain focused.