FILE: A teary student of Bethel Baptist High School released by bandits in Kaduna in July. PHOTO: Olu Ajayi.
THE United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has said that, this year, no fewer than 20 attacks have been directed at Nigerian schools, leading to the death of 16 students.
The Fund also said about one million school children, out of over 37 million, were afraid to return to the classroom as schools resume.
UNICEF said this in a statement, on Thursday, by its Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins.
Hawkins said UNICEF was joining “in a global ‘digital freeze’ to protest children unable to access the classroom due to COVID-19 restrictions or other challenges, with social media platforms ‘frozen’ to draw attention to how many children are at risk of missing out on an education.”
On the situation in Nigeria, he said: “Education was delayed for many children due to COVID-19 restrictions during 2020, along with additional challenge of school closures due to prevailing insecurity across the country.
“So far this year, there have been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria, with 1,436 children abducted and 16 children dead. More than 200 children are still missing.
“Most of us can remember the excitement of returning to school, and the joy of meeting our teachers and fellow students again.
“But for so many Nigerian children, whose education already suffered during COVID-19 lockdowns, that important day has been indefinitely postponed.
“And for many children still missing, it is unclear when they will ever come back home or enter a classroom again,” said Peter Hawkins.