4 UK charities launch campaign to end Nigeria school abductions



4 UK charities launch campaign to end Nigeria school abductions

By Ruth Oketunde

Four UK charities have joined together to launch a campaign to draw the UK government’s attention to developments in Nigeria to secure schools in the West African country.

The charities are IA-Foundation, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and the International Organization for the Consolidation of Peace and Social Justice (PSJ-UK).

Ms. Ronke Adeagbo, Founder and Managing Director of IA-Foundation, confirmed this development during a telephone interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Tuesday.

Nigeria has witnessed 12 armed attacks on educational institutions in which more than 1,100 students have been kidnapped for ransom and at least seven of them have been killed since December last year.

Charities are campaigning to get people across the UK to sign petitions to send to UK Minister Boris Johnson.

The aim is to persuade the Prime Minister, who is a strong advocate for 12 years of quality education, especially for girls, to show a stronger commitment to work with Nigeria to tackle the kidnapping crisis.

Nigeria is a staunch ally of the United Kingdom and a member of the Commonwealth, having been a former colony of Great Britain, which amalgamated the country in 1914 to form the most populous nation in Africa.

The petition is expected to be delivered to the Prime Minister through his special envoy for girls’ education, Ms Helen Grant, who is also of Nigerian descent.

The four UK charities in their ‘Safe Education Petition’ demand that the UK and Nigerian governments act decisively to protect schools from terrorist attacks and prevent further kidnappings of schoolchildren.

The petition which was unveiled in London, the British capital, earlier this week, highlights “the persistent failures of Nigerian lawmakers to help Nigerian students realize their potential.”

He urges the Nigerian government to fully implement the Safe Schools Declaration and not just make it a commitment in words but also in action.

Recurring kidnappings in Nigeria have prompted UNICEF to warn that at least one million students could miss school this year, due to increased mass kidnappings and general insecurity.

From October 25-27, Nigeria will host the Fourth International Conference on the Safe Schools Initiative in Abuja, which will involve the UK government and civil society alongside other international partners.

The petition also echoes the theme of the conference which focuses on “Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice”.

According to Mr. Ayo Adedoyin, Managing Director of PSJ-UK, “Every child in Nigeria deserves a safe education without fear of violence or kidnapping.

“We call on the UK and Nigerian governments to do all they can to protect schools from terrorist attacks, prevent school kidnappings and promote support for mobile school units for displaced students.

“We also expect the Nigerian government to provide assistance to vulnerable communities across the country and hold those responsible for violations to account. “

Likewise, Baroness Caroline Cox, Founder and President of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust said that “Boko Haram and other terrorist factions have continued to target Nigerian schools.

“They are killing teachers and students. They also carry out mass kidnappings for ransom, demanding exorbitant sums from desperate parents.

“Public and private institutions are targeted, including Islamic establishments and schools belonging to Christian denominations.

“In some cases state and federal authorities have paid huge ransoms while in Kaduna state parents are forced to incur heavy debts due to the governor’s refusal to pay ransoms. “

In his own submission, Adeagbo said the Nigerian government needs to increase school budgets to ensure schools have state-of-the-art security infrastructure that would make students less vulnerable to attack.

In addition, CSW President Mervyn Thomas noted that Nigerian authorities responded to the wave of attacks on schools primarily by shutting down schools.

According to him, it is a blunt instrument that guarantees the safety of students to the detriment of their education.

“School should be a safe space for students to learn and realize their potential, even during conflict,” he added.

The public petition was launched on September 27. It is available at: https: //csw.e-

Source: NAN

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