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United Nations, group seek better security for students, teachers

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UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon

United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, has expressed displeasure with security issues in the country’s schools.

In a statement released in Lagos, yesterday, to commemorate the 2021 International Day to Protect Education from Attack, Kallon frowned on the attacks, especially kidnapping, that affected hundreds of pupils in the country.

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He noted that over 10 million children were already out of school and that conflict aggravated the situation, especially for the most vulnerable.

In the last academic year, he added, it is estimated that 1.3 million children were impacted by attacks or abductions in Nigerian schools.

He explained that in the North East alone, over 600,000 children remained out of school and some 1.1 million needed support to stay in school and that the situation was compounded by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) crisis.

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According to Kallon, an attack on schools is a direct attack on the future generation, traumatic for the children, which undermines their individual dignity and sometimes leads affected families to withdraw them from education entirely.

“Children are traumatised; parents are scared; teachers and school administrators are afraid; attacks on schools are gradually spreading to areas not known to insurgencies. With education under attack, the collective future of Nigeria is under threat. This must stop now!

“I strongly condemn every form of attack that has kept many children away from school. I call on federal and state governments to do more to protect schools from attack and to ensure 4teaching and learning are safe and conducive in all schools in Nigeria,” he said.

SIMILARLY, Save the Children has raised concern over persistent attacks on schools, students, and teachers.

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The Country Director, Nigeria, Save the Children International, Mercy Gichuhi, noted the International Day to Protect Education from Attack as an important moment to raise awareness on the situation of education in conflict and focus on the Safe Schools Declaration.

Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) had revealed that over 1,000 students were abducted between January and August 2021, with many of them still in captivity, which led to the shutdown of some schools in the north.

Between 2015 and 2019, there were also 100 reported attacks on schools in Nigeria.

A recent report by Save the Children entitled ‘Build Forward Better’ revealed that education systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Mali, and Libya were at ‘extreme risk’ while Syria and Yemen follow closely behind.

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