• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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BusinessDay

Many schools still can’t prevent mass abduction, 10 years after Chibok case – UNICEF

Nigeria fails 109 missing Chibok girls 8 years after abduction

Disturbingly, over the past decade, conflict-related violence has resulted in the abduction of more than 1,680 children from schools, with 180 children killed in attacks on schools. The threat of abduction has instilled fear in over one million children, leading to school closures and disrupting learning.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that a significant portion (37 percent) of schools in Nigeria still lack essential measures to prevent attacks, 10-year after the tragic Chibok abductions in Borno State.

As Nigeria commemorates the 10th anniversary of the mass abduction of girls from Chibok in the Northeast, UNICEF has sounded the alarm on the ongoing threat to the country’s children, particularly in the wake of another abduction in Kaduna State earlier this year.

A new report released by UNICEF today, titled ‘Minimum Standards for Safe Schools (MSSS) Monitoring Report,’ sheds light on the persistent challenges facing Nigerian children in accessing safe education.

Shockingly, the report reveals that only 37 percent of schools across 10 states have early warning systems to detect threats like school attacks.

Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “The kidnapping of the Chibok girls was a wake-up call to the severe risks our children face in their pursuit of education.

“Today, reflecting on this tragedy and other recent abductions, it is evident that our efforts to safeguard our children’s futures must be amplified.”

The report analyzed six key areas and highlighted significant disparities in the implementation of safe school standards across Nigerian states. While Borno State leads with a 70 percent fulfillment rate, Kaduna and Sokoto states lag behind at just 25 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

Disturbingly, over the past decade, conflict-related violence has resulted in the abduction of more than 1,680 children from schools, with 180 children killed in attacks on schools. The threat of abduction has instilled fear in over one million children, leading to school closures and disrupting learning.

UNICEF Nigeria is calling on the government, partners, and the international community to take decisive action to ensure the safety of all Nigerian children.

This includes addressing critical gaps in safe school infrastructure, strengthening law enforcement measures, and prioritizing education and child protection in national policies and budgets.

UNICEF also noted that it is working closely with the government to create safe learning environments, providing support for the implementation of safe school standards and initiatives to ensure the continuity of education during crises.

As the nation reflects on the Chibok abductions and recent incidents, UNICEF urges collective action to protect the rights of every child to education in Nigeria.