The United Nations (UN) has warned that “the collective future of Nigeria is under threat” given rising insecurity and spate of attacks by bandits on schools.
The warning comes against the backdrop of recent coordinated killings and kidnappings of schoolchildren across Kaduna, Kebbi, Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states, leading to the forced closure of schools in these states.
The organisation lamented in the last academic year, an estimated 1.3 million children were impacted by attacks or abductions in schools in Nigeria. It urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to tackle the security challenges ravaging the country to preserve its posterity.
United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, stated this in a statement on the 2021 International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
“UN condemns attack on schools, calls for more efforts to protect students and ensure uninterrupted teaching and learning. 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,” Kallon said.
He said whenever teaching and learning is disrupted, the impact on human capital development is enormous as the recovery period always tortuous and longer than the length of the initial disruption.
“Across the North-East region alone, over 600,000 children remain out of school and some 1.1 million need educational support to stay in school. This has all been compounded by the setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Meanwhile, the United States and United Kingdom governments say they have trained nearly 200,000 out of-school-children and youths in Borno and Yobe states.
They said the training would improved literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills of the nearly 200,000 out of school children in formal and non-formal settings, with more than half of the numbers, girls.
Present at the closing ceremony of the Addressing Education in North East Nigeria (AENN) event held in Abuja yesterday were USAID Mission Director, Dr. Anne Patterson, Nigerian education officials and officials of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
The three-year US and UK government-funded activity would significantly increase safe and relevant educational opportunities for children and youth in crisis environments in Nigeria.
The programme which was launched in 2018, assisted the Federal Government to create more certified and safe educational environments for girls and boys in Borno and Yobe in collaboration with major local, federal and international education establishments.