Nigeria. Growing attacks on children threaten the right to education

মাস More than 61 children are still being held captive in the months leading up to the abduction.
• More than 780 children were abducted for ransom in 2021
স্কুল Many schools have been closed indefinitely due to growing insecurity

Nigerian authorities are failing in their duty to children because at least 61 students in the north of the country remain in captivity months after they were abducted in a massive school attack that ended the education of thousands of children and brutalized them at the hands of all inmates. The bandits, ”Amnesty International Nigeria said on December 2, 2021.

It is common for children to be abducted from orphanages, schools and places of worship and then held captive for weeks, sometimes months, depending on the response to the abductors’ demands. Sometimes children are attacked on their way to school, on foot or on a school bus and abducted in exchange for ransom.

No child should go through the situation that children are going through in Nigeria right now. Education should not be a matter of life and death. Again, Nigeria is failing to fulfill its responsibility towards children in a deplorable way.

Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

In some parts of northern Nigeria, students are at constant risk of death or abduction. Since February 2021, more than 780 children have been abducted for ransom during widespread attacks on schools or religious institutions, some of which have been killed during the torture. Parents of abducted children or school authorities are sometimes forced to provide food and clothing to children in captivity, ”said Osai Ozigho.

The future of thousands of students in northern Nigeria remains bleak, with hundreds of schools closed indefinitely in some states due to growing insecurity. Many children have dropped out of school because of the trauma of witnessing a violent attack or being held captive.

An elementary school teacher in the area where 317 teenage girls were abducted on February 26, 2021 (Jangebe Local Government Area, Zamfara State) told Amnesty International that school attendance had dropped dramatically due to insecurity, with children afraid to go to school and even afraid to go to school. . They have been forced to do so by their parents.

A 15-year-old boy who was injured in a mass abduction from his school has told Amnesty International that he will not return to his school when it reopens.

“If the school is reopened, I will not go back to boarding school, I would prefer to be an outsider in another institution. Every time I remember I get scared; It’s heartbreaking and I want all the kids, especially my cousins, to be saved. “

“When schools are targeted or attacked, the damage and the consequences can be huge and have far-reaching effects. Protecting the lives of children is paramount, and the Nigerian authorities have a responsibility to ensure that the country’s education sector is not further endangered by the abduction, intimidation and killing of students. “

Section 27 of the Child Rights Act prohibits the abduction of children. Following the ratification of the African Charter on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nigeria has an obligation to take appropriate measures to prevent child abduction and to ensure the right of children to education.

Died in captivity or during the attack

Two girls and a boy, who were abducted on June 17, 2021 from Federal Government College in Birinin Yuri, KB State, were found dead several days after their abduction. Two of these children were shot in the leg, and a third appears to have died of health problems.

On June 6, 2021, the body of a 3-year-old boy abducted from the Salihu Tanko Islamic School in Tegina, Niger State, was found a few kilometers away from the city, while five other children abducted during the operation also died. At least 136 children aged 3 to 15 Was abducted and then released on 26 August after being held captive.

On February 17, Benjamin Doma was killed while trying to escape an attack on his school, the Government Science College, in Cagara, Niger. In this operation 26 students were abducted.

On September 19, Edeh Donald, a student at Merist Comprehensive Academy, Uturu, Abia State, died during an attack on his school bus by gunmen on Yahube Road in Abia State. The local government area of ​​Okigway, when he returned from a trip to his classmates.

Armed groups deliberately prey on children. The use of children as a shield or bargaining chip is unacceptable and must be stopped. The Nigerian government must investigate these attacks as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Osa Ojigho, Amnesty International

Captive children

Many abducted children were released after negotiations, but more than 61 children remain in captivity for months after their abduction. On June 17, 2021, 167 days after the abduction, at least 56 children at the Federal Government College in Birnin Yuri, Kebbi State, are still being held captive. In addition, eight teachers and non-teaching staff, including 102 students, were evacuated during the operation.

In Kaduna, three students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School on July 5, 2021 are in captivity after 149 days. At least 121 children between the ages of 10 and 15 were abducted during the operation in the Chikun local government area.

Children, including a child, are still among 66 detainees after being abducted on October 31, 2021, from the Emanuel Baptist Church in the Chikun local government area of ​​Kaduna State.

“Attacks at schools, abductions and killings of students show complete disregard for the right to life and the right to education. Nigerian authorities must ensure the safety of schools and children. The school attack is a violation of international law and the authorities must ensure that such attacks are thoroughly investigated and that the accused perpetrators face a fair trial without resorting to the death penalty, Osai Ojigho said.

Additional information

Amnesty International Nigeria has repeatedly called for the protection of children in crisis situations and for an end to school attacks.

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