One million Nigerian children likely to avoid school amid kidnappings – UN
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CAPE TOWN - The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) said recently that as more than 37 million Nigerian children start the new school year in September, at least one million are being left behind as they are afraid to return to school amid insecurity and kidnapping threats.
According to a Unicef report, families and communities remain fearful of sending children back to their classrooms due to the spate of school attacks and student abductions in Nigeria over the past several months and the climate of insecurity.
Peter Hawkins, Unicef’s representative in Nigeria, said in a statement: “A child's first day of school should be an exciting event for parents and children, a landmark moment in their young lives, signalling new learning and new friends that will impact their futures. This moment is being stolen from around a million Nigerian children this year, as insecurity threatens their safety and education.”
Hawkins added that it is unacceptable that communities should be worried to send their children to school over fears they will be abducted from what should be a safe space.
The Unicef representative added that this insecurity must end so that children can return to their normal lives and benefit from all the important things that attending school brings to them.
According to the agency, so far this year there have been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria, with 1,436 children abducted and 16 children killed. More than 200 children remain missing.