No fewer than 1,500 schoolchildren have been abducted by armed groups since April 2021.
This disclosure was made by Amnesty International, yesterday, on the eighth anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in a government secondary school in Chibok community in Yobe State.
This came as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said security challenges have affected the education of 1.3 million children in less than two years. The UN body said since December 2020, 11, 536 schools were closed due to abductions and security issues.
Peter Hawkins, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said school abductions and attacks have discouraged children, especially girls, from learning.
Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director, Osai Ojigho, in a report, said the increasingly brazen manner of recent abductions showed that the Nigerian authorities were failing to prevent these crimes from taking place and have not learnt any lessons from the abduction of the Chibok school girls eight years ago, as families of abducted children are left without any hope of reuniting with their loved ones.
“Nigerian is failing to protect vulnerable children, by refusing to respond to alerts of impending attacks on schools across the North of the country, the Nigerian authorities have failed to prevent mass abductions of thousands of school children.
“In all cases, the Nigerian authorities have remained shockingly unwilling to investigate these attacks or to ensure that the perpetrators of these callous crimes face justice. Every fresh attack is followed by further abductions that deprive school children of their right to liberty and leave victims’ families with no hope of accessing justice, truth, or reparations.
“The Nigerian authorities must urgently comply with the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to which it is a state party. They must take concrete steps to prevent abduction of children and ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility face justice in fair trials and rescue the hundreds of children who remain in captivity.
“The recent upsurge in abductions is also leading to prolonged shutdowns of schools. As a result, affected regions have seen a decline in school enrollment and attendance, as well as a rise in child marriage and pregnancies of school-age girls.
“Of the more than 1,500 school children, who have been abducted in Northern Nigeria since the Chibok attack on April 14, 2014, at least 120 students remain in captivity. They are mostly schoolgirls, and their fate remains unknown.
“Of the 276 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok by Boko Haram, 109 are still unaccounted for. Of 102 students, who were kidnapped from the Federal Government College in Birnin Yauri, nine are still being held by their captors. One of the 121 students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State remains in captivity. Five of the 19 students abducted from Greenfield University were brutally murdered, while one of the 333 students kidnapped in Kankara, was also killed. Five of the 276 students kidnapped in Dapchi were killed, while one student, Leah Sharibu, remains in captivity. Five of the 136 school children kidnapped from Salihu Tanko Islamiya School in Tegina, have also been killed.