NIGERIA: Save the Children International, (SCI) Nigeria, has expressed dissatisfaction with the continued assault on schools, students and teachers in the country.
This was disclosed during the International Day to Protect Education from Attack celebration.
The event was celebrated on a virtual roundtable discussion, organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
In a statement, the SCI Nigeria Media and Communication Manager, Kunle Olawoyin, stated that attacks have been on the rise between 2020 and 2021 and this has led to the closing of many schools through the authorities due to worry of being attacked.
As stated by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) between 2015-2019, there have been 100 reported attacks on schools across the country.
“Between January to August 2021, above 1000 school children had been abducted in Nigeria, with so many of them still in the hands of their abductors,” Olawoyin said.
Impact Of The Programme
The SCI Country Director in Nigeria, Mercy Gichuhi said the occasion is to increase awareness on the situation of education in conflict.
“For us, the 9th September, the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, is an important moment to and some of our focus on the Safe Schools Declaration.
“When education is under attack, a generation is attacked. Children, girls and women are more endangered at instances of raid, puting them at a higher risk of trauma, fear, gender based violence, physical and sexual abuse. Many children in such instances will have no choice but to discontinue their schooling and some will never return back to school, with their childhood dream fading away,” Gichuhi noted.
Gichuhi also said that, Nigeria out of school children, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was at 10.5 million before the effect of the conflict, humanitarian crisis and COVID-19 pandemic surface.
Effect Of School Closure
With the complete or partial closure of schools in Zamfara, Katsina, Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger and other states due to kidnapping and abduction of school children, Gichuhi noted that the quantity of children that would be prevented from gaining access to education in Nigeria is on the increase.
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SCI however encouraged governments to put in place mechanisms that ensure the protection of schools and other learning facilities.
Hope Of SCI
As Nigeria hosts the globe at the 4th ISC declaration, we look forward to seeing government and international partners coming up with concrete measures to build resilience at the community level, evolved security measures that will help curb the persistent attack on educational facilities including the children and their teachers.
About International Day To Protect Education From Attack
The International Day to Protect Education from Attack, was established by a unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly, calling on UNESCO and UNICEF to raise awareness of the plight of millions of children living in countries affected by conflict.
The resolution proclaiming the Day was presented by the State of Qatar and cosponsored by 62 countries.