Schools must be safe learning zones, not a nightmare for children
Abuja, 19 February 2021: Mercy Gichuhi, Save the Children International Nigeria, Country Director, said "we are deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of schoolchildren and teachers who have been abducted by suspected gunmen in Niger State, North Central Nigeria, recently. Boarding schools are closed and several students appear to be missing while schools were supposed to be safe zones for children to play, learn, realize and release their full potentials."
Education is a human right and a public responsibility that should be protected, respected, and fulfilled by the duty bearers.
"An attack on students, teachers and schools is an attack on the future."
Therefore, "we condemn any attack on schools, students and teachers, as they are a grave violation of the rights of a child. Children have the right to have access to undisrupted and quality education in a secure and child-friendly learning environment."
"We call upon all parties to ensure that the missing students are returned to their families and their schools immediately."
"Nigeria is set to host the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools in 2021 and is one of the first African countries to endorse the Safe School Declaration (SSD). Therefore, we would like to urge the Government to ensure that Nigerian children have access to safe, quality and uninterrupted education at all levels."
According to UNESCO, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In Nigeria and around the world, we work every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. When crisis strikes and children are most vulnerable, we are always among the first to respond and the last to leave. We ensure children's unique needs are met and their voices are heard. We deliver lasting results for millions of children, including those hardest to reach. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.
Save the Children has been working in Nigeria since 2001, and currently present in 12 States.