The United Nations (UN) says incessant attacks of schools and abduction of schoolchildren in Nigeria are threatening the future of the country.
Edward Kallon, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, on Thursday called on the federal government to intensify efforts to protect students.
Kallon made the call in a statement to mark the 2021 International Day to Protect Education from Attack which is commemorated every September 9.
“I strongly condemn every form of attack that has kept many children away from schools. I call on the Federal and State Governments to do more to protect schools from attack and to ensure that teaching and learning is safe and conducive in all schools in Nigeria,” he said.
“Whenever teaching and learning is disrupted, the impact on human capital development is enormous as the recovery period is always tortuous and longer than the length of the initial disruption.”
“Children are traumatized; 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 Nigeria cannot afford to leave the situation of incessant attacks on schools to remain unchecked.
He called on the government to take decisive action to protect education from attack and give “this great nation’s children the chance to fulfill their promise”.
He added: “With over 10 million children already out of school, conflict has aggravated the situation and deeply affected education and the prospects of many young people, especially its most vulnerable ones. In the last academic year, it is estimated that 1.3 million children have been impacted by attacks or abductions at schools in Nigeria.
“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.”
The International Day to Protect Education from Attack is aimed at raising awareness of the plight of children in conflict-affected areas growing up without access to education.