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Osai Ojigho concerned over decline in school enrolment, others

Osai Ojigho concerned over decline in school enrolment, others

Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria director is concerned that the government’s failure to protect vulnerable children by declining to respond to alerts of impending attacks on schools is the reason for low school enrolments and attendance.

Ojigho made the revelation Wednesday via amnesty international report on the anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirl abduction.

According to the Amnesty International’s boss, “Nigeria is failing to protect vulnerable children. By refusing to respond to alerts of impending attacks on schools across the North of the country, the Nigerian authorities have failed to prevent the mass abductions of thousands of school children.

“In all cases, the Nigerian authorities have remained shockingly unwilling to investigate these attacks or to ensure that the perpetrators of these callous crimes face justice. Every fresh attack is followed by further abductions that deprive school children of their right to liberty and leave victims’ families with no hope of accessing justice, truth, or reparations.

“The Nigerian authorities must urgently comply with the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to which it is a state party. They must take concrete steps to prevent the abduction of children and ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility face justice in fair trials and rescue the hundreds of children who remain in captivity.”

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Furthermore, the report stated that the recent upsurge in abductions is also leading to prolonged shutdowns of schools. As a result, affected regions have seen a decline in school enrollment and attendance, as well as a rise in child marriage and pregnancies of school-age girls.

“Of the more than 1,500 school children who have been abducted in Northern Nigeria since the Chibok attack on April 14, 2014, at least 120 students remain in captivity. They are mostly schoolgirls, and their fate remains unknown.

“Of the 276 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok by Boko Haram, 109 are still unaccounted for. Of 102 students who were kidnapped from the Federal Government College in Birnin Yauri, nine are still being held by their captors. One of the 121 students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State remains in captivity.

“Five of the 19 students abducted from Greenfield University were brutally murdered, while one of the 333 students kidnapped in Kankara was also killed. Five of the 276 students kidnapped in Dapchi were killed, while one student, Leah Sharibu, remains in captivity. Five of the 136 school children kidnapped from Salihu Tanko Islamiya School in Tegina have also been killed.

“One returnee, who was interviewed lamented the stigmatization she has suffered in her local community after returning. ‘They call us Boko Haram wives and our children are not even allowed to mingle with other kids in the village,” the report read in part.

Amnesty International the report interviewed seven parents of school children, who remain in captivity, and described their ordeal as traumatizing and frustrating.

A father of three children in Jangebe town narrated his ordeal and how frustrating it has been.

A mother of some of the Chibok girls still in captivity explained that they sent their children to school, but that these children are neither in school nor at home.

“ I don’t know if I’m going to see my daughters again. The trauma of not knowing where my children are is silently killing me. I am socially and psychologically degenerating,” she said.

Another mother stressed that it does not appear that the government is on top of the matter and that she is not hopeful that she might reunite with her daughter someday.

“I’m already getting tired of following up with the authorities. Also, community support and sympathy are declining every day. I’m hopeless! I’m hopeless,” the woman said.

According to an Amnesty International report, eight years after the abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram, and with more than 1,500 school children abducted by armed groups since the incident, affected regions have seen a decline in school enrolment and attendance, as well as a rise in child marriage and pregnancies of school-age girls,

It also said that the increasingly brazen manner of recent abductions shows that the Nigerian authorities are failing to prevent these crimes from taking place and have not learned any lessons from the abduction of the Chibok school girls eight years ago, as families of abducted children are left without any hope of reuniting with their loved ones.