August 18, 2023

Over 1,680 Nigerian schoolchildren kidnapped since Chibok incident

US lawmakers pass resolution on Chibok girls, Boko Haram

Chibok girls

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo

Over 1,680 schoolchildren have been kidnapped since the 2014 abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State, with fear of attacks stopping many others from ever attending school.

A group, Save the Children International, SCI, which disclosed this in a statement issued by the Media Manager, Kunle Olawoyin, yesterday, said the kidnap of the Chibok schoolgirls sparked the #BringBackOurGirls movement and protests that attracted public support from celebrities and public figures, including Malala Yousafzai, Hillary Clinton, and then First Lady, Michelle Obama.

“However, new data analysis by Save the Children reveals that attacks on schools have been on the spotlight and highlights the violence that schoolchildren and teachers face across Nigeria.

The statement read:  “In addition to the abductions, over 180 schoolchildren were killed and nearly 90 injured in 70 attacks between April 2014 and December 2022, with an estimated 60 school staff kidnapped and 14 killed. Twenty-five school buildings were reportedly destroyed during that period.”

The group stated that majority of the attacks took place in North-West Nigeria (49 attacks), followed by North-Central Nigeria (11 attacks).

“These attacks have long-lasting consequences for communities and for children’s access to education, often leading to the mass withdrawal of children from school and school closures. In Katsina state in the North-Western part of the country, nearly 100 schools remain closed due to insecurity, affecting the education of over 30,000 children.

“In the aftermath of attacks, children and communities are left traumatised, and the majority do not receive psychological support.

“During focus group discussions with affected communities, Save the Children staff found that many children were too scared to return to school.

‘’One girl, who survived the Chibok school attack, said: ‘I am afraid of being a victim some other day and afraid of dying or raped by the insurgents.'”

Similarly, Country Director at Save the Children Nigeria, Famari Barro, said more needed to be done to prevent attacks and support children and their families in the aftermath.

It stated further: “Nearly 10 years after the tragic abduction of the Chibok girls made international headlines, more than 90 of them are still held or missing, and countless children and teachers still live under the threat of violence, forcing many to flee or interrupt their education, sometimes forever.

“The combination of the trauma and loss of education resulting from these attacks is likely to be lifelong unless children are provided with the means and support to recover from the traumatic events they have been through and are able to return to school.

“It is vital that children’s lives and right to education are protected through the implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration across the country.”