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Nigeria: Escalating attacks targeting children endanger right to education



Nigeria: Escalating attacks targeting children endanger right to education

The Nigerian authorities have a duty to ensure that the country’s education sector is no longer threatened by kidnapping, intimidation and murder of schoolchildren.

LONDON, UK, December 2, 2021 / APO Group / –

More than 61 children remain in captivity months after the mass kidnapping by bandits; More than 780 children kidnapped for ransom in 2021; Many schools are closed indefinitely due to increasing insecurity.

Nigerian authorities are failing the children, as at least 61 children in northern Nigeria remain in captivity, months after their abduction during mass attacks on schools that also ended the education of thousands of children and put them in captivity at through horrible and degrading treatment at the hands of bandits. Amnesty International Nigeria said today.

Children in orphanages, schools, and places of worship are often kidnapped and held in captivity for weeks, sometimes months, depending on when or if the demands of their abductors are met. Children on school buses or walking to schools are also sometimes ambushed and kidnapped for ransom.

No child should go through what children are going through now in Nigeria. Education should not be a matter of life and death for anyone. Nigeria is failing children once again in a gruesome way.

School-age children in some parts of northern Nigeria are constantly at risk of death or kidnapping. More than 780 children have been kidnapped for ransom since February 2021 during massive attacks on schools or religious institutions, and some of the children died during the attacks. Parents of abducted children or school authorities are sometimes forced to provide children with food and clothing while they are in captivity, ”says Osai Ojigho.

The future for thousands of school-age children in northern Nigeria remains bleak, as hundreds of schools in some states have been closed indefinitely due to increasing insecurity. Many children dropped out of education due to the psychological trauma of witnessing violent attacks or living in captivity.

An elementary school teacher who teaches in the community where 317 schoolchildren were abducted on February 26, 2021 in Jangebe LGA, Zamfara state, told Amnesty International that insecurity has drastically reduced school attendance as children have afraid to go to school even when their parents force them.

A 15-year-old boy who was injured while escaping a mass kidnapping at his school told Amnesty International that he would not return to school every time it reopened.

“If the school reopens, I won’t go back to boarding school, I’d rather become a day student elsewhere. Whenever I remember what happens it scares me; It is disturbing, I want all the children to be rescued and especially my cousins ​​”.

“When educational institutions are attacked or attacked, the damages and consequences can be significant and far-reaching. Protecting the lives of children is paramount and the Nigerian authorities have a duty to ensure that the country’s education sector is not further threatened by kidnapping, intimidation and murder of school-age children. ”

Article 27 of the Children’s Rights Act prohibits the kidnapping of children. Nigeria, which has ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, has an obligation to take appropriate measures to prevent the abduction of children and guarantee the rights of children. to education.

Death in captivity or during an attack

Two girls and a boy abducted from the Federal Government School, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi state, on June 17, 2021, were found dead, days after their abduction. Two of the children were also shot in the legs, while the third was suspected of having died of poor health.

On June 6, 2021, the body of a 3-year-old boy kidnapped from the Salihu Tanko Islamic School, Tegina, Niger state, was found a few kilometers from the city, while five other children kidnapped during the raid also died in captivity. At least 136 children between the ages of 3 and 15 were abducted during the raid and released on August 26 after months of captivity.

On February 17, Benjamin Doma was killed while trying to escape during an attack on his school, Government Science College Kagara, Niger state. Also 27 school-age children were kidnapped during the raid.

On September 19, Edeh Donald, a student at the Marist Comprehensive Academy, Uturu, Abia State, was killed when his school bus was attacked by gunmen along the Ihube road in Okigwe LGA while returning with his schoolmates from a excursion.

There is a deliberate attack on children by armed groups. Using children as shields or bargaining chips is unacceptable and must be stopped. The Nigerian government should investigate these attacks as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Many abducted children have been released after the negotiations, but more than 61 children remain in captivity months after their abduction. At least 56 children from the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State, remain in captivity 167 days after their abduction on June 17, 2021. Also 102 schoolchildren, including eight members of academic and non-academic staff, were abducted. during the raid.

In Kaduna, three students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School on July 5, 2021 have spent 149 days in captivity. At least 121 children between the ages of 10 and 15 were abducted during the raid in the local government area of ​​Chikun.

The children, including a baby, are among 66 people still in captivity after their abduction on October 31, 2021 at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Chikun LGA, Kaduna State.

“The attacks on schools, the kidnappings and the murders of school-age children demonstrate an absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education. Nigerian authorities must provide protection to schools and children. The attacks on schools are a violation of international law and the authorities must ensure that these attacks are properly investigated and that the alleged perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials without resorting to the death penalty, Osai Ojigho said.

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