United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has described as horrifying the abduction of another set of students in Nigeria.
Reacting to the abduction of 100 students and a teacher of Government Day Secondary School Kaya in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, north-west Nigeria on Wednesday, the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, while stating that school must be safe for students, lamented the endless attacks on schools especially in the North.
It has become a frequent occurrence in parts of Nigeria’s North for students to be abducted by bandits who subsequently demand for ransom.
Many students are still in captivity dating back to the abduction of over 200 students in Chibok by Boko Haram insurgents on April 14, 2014. Though many have been released after ransom was allegedly paid but few of the students are held on to with two of them resurfacing few weeks back with children they gave birth to while in captivity.
Perhaps one of the popular cases, is the Christian girl Leah Sharibu who was denied freedom based on her faith by Boko Haram after other Muslim girls abducted in a massive abduction of over 100 students at Dapchi school in Yobe States on February 19, 2018 were released after ransom was allegedly paid.
Just last Friday 91 students of Tegina school were released after they held by their abductors for 88 days, with one unfortunately dead in captivity.
Hawkins in a statement said UNICEF is horrified by yet another attack on an educational institution in Nigeria, following the abduction of 100 students and a teacher of Government Day Secondary School Kaya in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, north-west Nigeria, yesterday.
He said of the abducted students, 23 students escaped and returned home – two of them with bullet wounds, lamenting that the abducted students are aged between 14 and 19.
Hawkins said: “We strongly condemn this attack, which has happened just a few days after kidnapped students of a school in Niger State, north-central Nigeria, were freed,” adding that: “We call on the authorities to take expedited action to rescue these students and reunite them with their families.”
He further said: “We reiterate that attacks on schools and abduction of learners are a gross violation of children’s rights, and a horrific experience for children to go through – one which could have long-lasting effects on their mental health and overall well-being.”
He said: “Schools must be safe; no child should experience any harm because they went to school, and no parent should come to grief for sending their children to learn.”