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Insecurity: Save the Children laments persistent attacks on schools, students, teachers in Nigeria

As the world marks the second International Day to ‘Protect Education from Attack’, Save the Children has condemned the persistent attack on schools, students and…

As the world marks the second International Day to ‘Protect Education from Attack’, Save the Children has condemned the persistent attack on schools, students and teachers in Nigeria.

According to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), between 2015-2019, there were over 100 reported attacks on schools in Nigeria.

The coalition said that these attacks have been increasing between 2020 and 2021, leading closing down of many schools by the government due to fear of attacks, apart from over 1000 children abducted, with many of them still in the hands of their abductors, from January to August, 2021.

In a recently released Save the Children’s report, ‘Build Forward Better’, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Mali, and Libya have education systems that are at ‘extreme risk’ while Syria and Yemen follow closely behind.

The new data, which is the first of its kind, follows recent Save the Children research, which found that on average, children in low-income countries have lost 66 percent more of their lifetime schooldays during the pandemic compared with their peers in well-off countries.

Mercy Gichuhi, the Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria (SCI-Nigeria), said on Wednesday in Abuja that, “For us, the 9th September, the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, is an important moment to raise awareness on the situation of education in conflict and some of our focus on the Safe Schools Declaration.

“When education is under attack, a generation is attacked. Children, girls and women are more vulnerable at times of attack -putting them at a higher risk of trauma, fear, gender-based violence, physical and sexual abuse. Many children in such times will have no choice but to discontinue their education and some will never return back to school -with their childhood dream fading away.”

She urged governments to put in place mechanisms that ensure the protection of schools and other learning environments.

“As Nigeria hosts the globe at the fourth International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration, we look forward to seeing government and international partners coming up with concrete measures to build resilience at the community level, evolved security measures that will help curb the persistent attack on educational facilities including the children and their teachers.

“Save the Children equally calls on international partners and the Government of Nigeria to increase investment in education to address the multi-faceted factors affecting education in Nigeria,” she said.

On her part, Madina Abdulkadir, Save the Children Girl Champion in Borno State said, “Closure of schools does not only affect our present but it also endangers our future. It is not appropriate that the first thing done in crisis is the closure of schools. We understand that the government wants to save our lives but shouldn’t there be a better option like providing the necessary security arrangements to protect the learning environment?”