By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has stressed the need for government to put in place necessary Interventions to ensure that schools are safe and that all Nigerian children can learn without fear.
Such interventions, according to the agency, should take into cognizance the important role communities can play in ensuring the safety of schools, including through support for school-based management committees (SBMCs).
UNICEF in a statement signed by its communication officer, Blessing Ejiofor, said that there is no justification in attacks against children and schools, describing the kidnapping of Kankara school boys in Katsina state as cruel disregard for humanity.
The agency while calling for an end to such cruelty against school children, noted that such attacks deprive children of the right to education, and make them fearful of going to the classroom.
Blessing Ejiofor explained that the attacks also make parents afraid to send their children to school, noting that schools must be safe places to study and develop, with learning not becoming a perilous endeavor.
“Attacks on educational facilities are a grave violation of children’s rights. This incident is a disturbing reminder of the heavy toll that violence takes on civilians in north-west Nigeria, including children”, UNICEF said.
The statement also described as outrage last Friday’s attack on Kankara school children in midnight, and in a place where they should feel safe, pointing out that children should not be the target of attack, expressing regret that in Nigeria children are victims of attacks on their schools.
UNICEF recalled that for one week, parents in Kankara community were awake at night, crying and awaiting the return of their sons, saying “Its thoughts and solidarity are with these children, their families and the Kankara community, who have endured an unimaginable ordeal this past week”.
The agency however expressed delight to hear that about 344 children are reported to have been released Thursday night, as it looks forward to their safe returns to their families, and called on the attackers to release any child still being held captive in Nigeria.