UNICEF Urges Action To Secure Children’s Education In Nigeria


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By Alice Etuka, Abuja

As Nigeria marks 10 years since the mass Chibok abductions in the Northeast, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for intensified efforts to protect the country’s most vulnerable population, its children.

In a statement issued on Monday, April 15, 2024, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Cristian Munduate said, “the kidnapping of the Chibok girls was a wake-up call to the severe risks our children face in their pursuit of education”.

Speaking further, Munduate stated, “today, reflecting on this tragedy and other recent abductions, it is evident that our efforts to safeguard our children’s futures must be amplified. Given these alarming statistics, we must address not only the symptoms but also the root causes of this crisis. Education is a fundamental right and a crucial pathway out of poverty. Yet, for too many Nigerian children, it remains an unattainable dream.”

The statement disclosed that, noted that, according to verified reports by the United Nations, in the last 10 years, conflict-related violence led to more than 1,680 children abducted while at school and elsewhere; 180 children killed due to attacks on schools; an estimated 60 school staff kidnapped and 14 killed; and more than 70 attacks on schools.

It said, “the threat of abduction of students is severely affecting children’s learning. As of 2021, over one million children were afraid to return to school, and in 2020, around 11,500 schools were closed due to attacks, according to Policy Weekly by Nextier”.

Therefore, UNICEF Nigeria called for the government, partners, and the international community to among other measures, take decisive action to:

“Ensure all schools across all states have the resources and tools to fully implement the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools, focusing on the most vulnerable regions.

“Address critical gaps in safe school infrastructure, preparedness for natural disasters, conflicts, and comprehensive approaches to violence against children.
Strengthen law enforcement and security measures to protect educational institutions and communities from attacks and abductions.

“Prioritize education and child protection in national policies and budget allocations to create a safer, more inclusive environment for all Nigerian children”.

 


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