The United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) has decried incessant attacks on schools and pupils in the country describing such happenings as “far too often.”
While reacting to the release of the Kankara boys who were kidnapped nine days ago in Katsina State, the UNICEF’s Country’s Representative, Mr. Peter Hawkins said that “attacks directly targeting children in the middle of the night, in a place where they should feel safe, was an outrage. Schools should be safe. Children should never be the target of attacks – and yet, far too often in Nigeria, they are precisely that – victims of attacks on their schools,” he said.
Hawkins, who stated that attacks on educational facilities were a grave violation of children’s rights, added that the incident was a disturbing reminder of the heavy toll that violence has taken on civilians in northwest Nigeria, including children.
“Such attacks deprive children of the right to education. They make children fearful of going to the classroom, and parents afraid to send their children to school. Schools must be safe places to study and develop, and learning cannot become a perilous endeavour.
“It has been now almost one week exactly since the appalling attack on the Government Boys Science Secondary School in the Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State – an attack that shocked the country.
“If any are still being held, we call on the attackers to release all children immediately. Any other children still being held captive in Nigeria should also be released.
“For one week, parents were awake at night, crying and awaiting the return of their sons. My thoughts and solidarity are with these children, their families, and the Kankara community – who have endured an unimaginable ordeal this past week.”
“Interventions must be put in place to ensure that schools are safe and that all Nigerian children can learn without fear. These interventions should take into account the important role that communities can play in ensuring the safety of schools, including through support for school-based management committees (SBMCs),” the statement continued, adding, “no cause justifies attacks against children and schools. Such cruel disregard for humanity must come to an end.”