The United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) has revealed how more than 1,000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram in the North East, Nigeria since 2013, including 276 girls taken from their secondary school in the town of Chibok, on April 14, 2014.
The UNICEF, said four years on, more than 100 of the ‘Chibok girls’ are yet to be returned to their families, and the UN children’s agency continues to call for their release.
“The four-year anniversary of the Chibok abduction reminds us that children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack at a shocking scale,” said UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall in a statement, yesterday. “They are consistently targeted and exposed to brutal violence in their homes, schools and public places.”
According to UNICEF, the recent attack on a school in Dapchi, in which five girls lost their lives, is just the latest indication that there are few safe spaces left for children in the Northeast, stressing that not even schools are spared from violence.
“These repeated attacks against children in schools are unconscionable. Children have the right to education and protection, and the classroom must be a place where they are safe from harm,” he said.
The UN agency said since the conflict started in Northeastern Nigeria nearly nine years ago, at least, 2,295 teachers have been killed and more than 1,400 schools have been destroyed, adding that most of these schools have not reopened because of extensive damage or ongoing insecurity.
UNICEF said Nigerian authorities have made a commitment to make schools safer and more resilient to attack, and UNICEF stands with them to implement the Safe Schools Declaration, by which Nigeria commits to protecting schools and universities from violence and military use during armed conflict.
UNICEF is appealing for an end to attacks on schools and all grave violations of children’s rights.