DEATHS OF 30 BOARDING SCHOOL BOYS IN NIGERIA

bp1In my book on the GBSS Hostel, I wrote about appreciating (more so at the time of writing) the safety of the setting and location of the Hostel. Despite a fence, Hostel grounds were quite accessible – from the sea into the Bottom Dormitory, and from the School just above the Top Dormitory. Yet, as far as I can recall, there were very few (if any) illegal entry into the Hostel from external persons. In fact; most of the break-ins were done by Hostel boys themselves including raiding the kitchen, the cupboard in the dining room and the storeroom; or another boy’s milk, fruit or cake. There were also the dreaded beating raids on the Top dormitory Boys by middle graders mainly from the Bottom Dormitory. The last inspired quite a bit of fear, and including at least one boy sleeping in the Assembly Hall. But overall, when in the day under the purview of the Boys, and in the night with custodians Wesley and Griffith patrolling, the Hostel was a remarkably safe place.
In the light of the above, the reader can well appreciate how shocked I was at a recent newspaper article entitled “Radical group blamed for killing 30 students”, in Nigeria. A group called Buko Haram (translates to ‘western education is sacrilege’) is alleged to have set a dormitory ablaze as students slept, killing at least 30 people. They, the article says, also torched the school’s administrative block. What a mess?! That would have been over half of the GBSS Hostel population.
While denouncing this act, I am moved to express compassion for the dead, and indeed for the climate that led to this event. I am also moved to express gratitude that I and others were part of another time, and place, and climate which allowed us in relative peace to take advantage of learning at the GBSS, and of community at the Hostel; and to become the men we became.

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