United Nations Children Fund has raised concerns over the future of Nigeria due to the consistent attacks on schools and other educational learning facilities, especially in the North East and the North Central regions of the country.
UNICEF noted that Nigeria ratified the Safe Schools Declaration, but that schools and students are not sufficiently protected.
The agency said unless greater attention is given to protecting children, teachers and schools, would continue to come under attack by bandits.
UNICEF demanded urgent and coordinated action by the Federal Government to safeguard the right to learn for every child in Nigeria.
The UN agency disclosed that 11, 536 schools were shut down since December 2020 due to abductions and security issues, and that this had impacted the education of approximately 1.3 million children in the 2020/21 academic year.
Also, within the same period, it said 1,436 school children and 17 teachers were abducted from schools, and 16 of them lost their lives.
UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, stated this at an event to mark the 8th anniversary of the abduction of 276 students at Government Girls’ Secondary School Chibok, Borno State.
“Unsafe schools, occasioned by attacks on schools and abduction of students are reprehensible, a brutal violation of the rights of the victims to education, and totally unacceptable. Their occurrences cut short the futures and dreams of the affected students.
“Attacks on these institutions render the learning environment insecure and discourage parents and caregivers from sending their wards to schools, while the learners themselves become fearful of the legitimate pursuit of learning. The invisible harm school attacks inflict on the victims’ mental health is incalculable and irredeemable,” Hawkins said.
He noted that collaboration is key to addressing insecurity and urged the government to intensify efforts to encourage girls’ education by keeping schools safe.