• Friday, May 24, 2024
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UNICEF urges Nigeria to secure schools, children’s future

UNICEF says lack of teachers, classrooms affect children’s education

…as 1,680 children abducted in 10 yrs

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged the Nigerian government to secure children’s education by ensuring that 37 percent of schools across 10 states have early warning systems in place to identify threats such as school attacks.

Their call comes as a report shows that over 1,680 school children have been abducted in Nigeria in the last ten years.

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

Cristian Munduate, UNICEF’s representative in Nigeria, stated this in the ‘Minimum Standards for Safe Schools (MSSS) Monitoring Report released to newsmen in Maiduguri on Monday.

“The kidnapping of the Chibok girls was a wake-up call to the severe risks our children face in their pursuit of education. “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,” Munduate said.

She lamented disturbing reports of violence affecting schools with brazen abductions of students on the rise.

”In the last 10 years, conflict-related violence has 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, according to verified reports by the United Nations.

“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.”

The report revealed that Borno State, with a 70 percent fulfilment of the standards, exemplifies a strong commitment to child safety amidst adversity. Yobe State also demonstrates promising progress. In contrast, Kaduna and Sokoto states lag significantly, with fulfilment rates at just 25 per cent and 26 percent, respectively.

Read also: UNICEF: Access to clean water critical for development, peace

“To ensure that schools are safe havens, strong political will and proper implementation of safe school standards are essential. Together, we can restore trust between educational institutions and the communities they serve, ensuring schools are sanctuaries for learning and growth,” Munduate added.