UNICEF, Niger Govt call for promotion of reading culture

…Calls For Their Unconditional Release

…Tasks Government To Secure Schools

By Femi Bolaji

The United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, has expressed dismay over the continued detention of 150 students of Salihu Tanko Islamiya School, Tegina, in Rafi local government area of Niger state by bandits.

The UN body, in a statement Monday says it is concerned that schools have become targets by bandits in Nigeria, stressing that it is a gross violation of the right of children to education.

It however called for the unconditional release of the 150 and also tasked the government of Nigeria to ensure safety of schools across the country.

The Officer in Charge, UNICEF Nigeria, Rushnan Murtaza said, “We are appalled that two weeks after 150 students were abducted from their school, they continue to be held by their abductors.

“Parents are grieving their children’s ‘disappearance’; siblings are missing their brothers and sisters – these children must be immediately and unconditionally released and safely reunited with their families.

READ ALSO: Bandits abduct over 10 people in Kaduna Community

“It is horrifying that schools and schoolchildren continue to be targets of attack – and in this particular incident, even children as young as 3years old.

“We can only begin to imagine how frightened they are, and the impact this will have on their mental health and well-being.

“We are also calling on the Nigerian Government to take all measures to protect schools in the country, and implement the promises made in the Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria Conference in April this year, so that children will not be fearful of going to school, and parents afraid of sending their children to school.

“Schools must be safe places to study and develop, and learning should not be a risky endeavor.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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