As the year hobbles to an end, horrible security statistics being rolled out by global watchdog, Amnesty International, shows that children in Nigeria have become the major target of attacks by bandits.
In a statement on Thursday, the organisation claimed 780 children have so far been abducted, 10 school children killed and 61 still in custody.
“No child should go through what children are going through now in Nigeria. Education should not be a matter of life and death for anyone. Nigeria is failing children once again in a horrifying manner” says Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
Knocking the authorities for allegedly failing the Nigerian child, Amnesty said, “Nigerian authorities are failing children as at least 61 children in northern Nigeria remain in captivity, months after their abduction during mass attacks on schools, which also terminated the education of thousands of children, while putting children in captivity through horrific and degrading treatment in the hands of bandits.
“Children in orphanages, schools and places of worship are often abducted and held in captivity for weeks, sometimes months, depending on when or if the demands of their abductors are met. Children in school buses or walking to schools are also sometimes ambushed and abducted for ransom.”
Ojigho stated that, “School children in some parts of northern Nigeria are constantly at the risk of death or abduction. More than 780 children have been abducted for ransom since February 2021 during mass attacks on schools or religious institutions, with some of the children killed during the attacks. Parents of the abducted children or the school authorities are sometimes made to provide food and clothing for the children while in captivity.
“The future of thousands of school children in Northern Nigeria remains bleak as hundreds of schools in some states have been closed indefinitely due to rising insecurity. Many children abandoned education due to the psychological trauma of witnessing violent attacks or living in captivity.”
Recalling the trauma of the victims, the statement noted: “A primary school teacher who teaches in the community where 317 school children were abducted on February 26, 2021 in Jangebe LGA, Zamfara State told Amnesty International that insecurity has drastically reduced school attendance, as children are afraid of attending school, even when forced by their parents. (Tribune)