|Pictures show 12 room shop belonging to Agafi Kunduli’s family after it was burnt down by Boko Haram militants|
1 GAME Project Development Coordinator, Agafi Kunduli says he was left “devastated and confused” for a long time after Boko Haram insurgents invaded his compound and burnt down a 12 room shop belonging to his family, presumably as retribution against him for working in education advocacy.
Speaking to education activists in Abuja on Tuesday, Kunduli said the attack which was carried out in December 2012 in Maiduguri, was a huge disaster for him and his family, and “it left everyone in shock for weeks.”
Kunduli said: “I had just joined 1 GAME Campaign and started to campaign with Philip Obaji (Founder of 1 GAME) when the attack took place. My family lost what it had laboured for so long to build. It was painful.
“I was scared afterwards. I thought the militants would come after me and my family, and so we all decided to leave Maiduguri. My father left for Gombe, while my brother and I moved to Abuja. I had given up trying to change Borno.
“The next day Obaji called me and said – Before you quit, I want you to answer one question. What’s going to happen to those Almajiri boys? Who will fight for them if not us? Who will help them get an education if we leave?
“After Obaji’s little speech that day, I decided not to quit. We went back to Maiduguri, and we kept at it, sustaining ourselves with the small victories. And over time, a community changed. And so had we.”
Kunduli who was born in Maiduguri, has been a key figure in 1 GAME’s effort to create access to quality education for thousands of children in northeastern Nigeria, where 2.8 million children are out of school.
Since violence intensified in 2012 in northern Nigeria, at least 70 teachers and over 100 schoolchildren and students have been killed or wounded by Boko Haram militants who forbid western education in the region. During this time, at least 50 schools have either been burned or seriously damaged and more than 60 others have been forced to close. More than 1,000 teachers have been forced to flee from areas in the north since 2012 under threat of attack. Under these conditions, thousands of children have been forced out of schools across communities in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states.
The Nigerian government announced on Friday that an agreement with Boko Haram has been reached to secure a ceasefire and the return of 219 schoolgirls missing for more than six months, bringing hope of an end to nearly 5 years of violence and unrest in parts of northern Nigeria.