A report released by Save the Children International (SCI) has revealed that about 70 schools were attacked and 1,683 school children kidnapped across Nigeria between Feb 2014 and Dec. 2022.
The report is entitled, “Education Under Attack: Review and Analysis of Attack on Schools, Teachers, and Learners from the Kidnapping of the Chibok Girls, Borno, Nigeria in 2014.”
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The consultant who developed the report, Mr Augustine Mamedu, while presenting the findings in Abuja on Thursday, also said that 184 learners were killed while 88 others were injured within the period.
Mamedu added that about 60 teachers and other school workers were also kidnapped; 14 were killed, while 25 school buildings were destroyed.
He pointed out that since the Chibok incident in Feb. 2014 when about 276 girls were kidnapped, the spate of kidnappings has been on the rise.
He added that the reports also revealed a geographical shift in the kidnappings of learners from the North East to the North West and North Central Zones.
He said that between 2014 and 2022, five schools were attacked in North East, 49 in North West, 11 in North Central, three in South South and two in South West.
“The report also showed that 28 schools have been attacked in Kaduna State within the period, with 17 schools attacked in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state alone.
“In Katsina State, 99 schools were closed, affecting 30,870 learners,” he said.
The consultant said that the report recommended increased investment in safe schools and the implementation of the SSD across the country and closure of boarding facilities located in communities with no security posts.
The Country Director, SCI, Mr Famari Barro, called for the full implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD) signed in 2015 to protect school children from kidnapping and other vices.
Barro explained that the SSD was a political commitment endorsed by the Federal Government to protect children, teachers and school facilities from attack and use of school facilities during arm conflict.
He said that globally, attacks on education, schools, children, and their teachers as well as the use of school facilities by security agencies during conflict was on the increase.
He recalled that the Nigerian government had taken steps by domesticating the SSD and pledged to mainstream and implement the declaration guidelines.
The country director, however, said that despite the efforts, attacks on education have remained a challenge in the country.
He explained that SCI commissioned the survey to examine attacks on schools, teachers, and learners in Nigeria since the attack on Chibok in 2014.
He said that the move was to find possible solutions from the view of the impacted communities, teachers, and learners.
Barro commended the establishment of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Center (NSSRCC).
“The initiative was a good step in providing a conducive learning environment for conflict-affected girls, boys, and children with disabilities in situations of violence.
“However, until the children in remote villages, who feel threatened by the rate of violence can attend school without fear, there is still much to be done.
“More needs to be done to prevent attacks, but also to support children and their families, especially with trauma management,” he said.
Responding, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Andrew Adejo expressed the ministry’s commitment to ensuring a safe school for every child through the implementation of the SSD.
Adejor, who was represented by Mr Joseph Achede, Deputy Director, Secondary Education, said that the ministry was working hard to address the problem.