With Nigeria’s signing of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)-supported handover protocol and the country’s commitment to invest N144.8 billion ($314.5 Million) towards the Safe Schools Financing Plan in 2022, UNICEF has assured of its continued support to the Government towards the implementation of the scheme.
This comes just as the UN Agency is worried over the ugly development in the North-East where over 6,800 Children are believed to have suffered over 2,400 incidents of grave violations verified since 2014.
According to a Statement, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, informed that the most common violations are recruitment or use of children by armed groups with 700 verified cases, followed by abductions of children, with 693 incidents, and killing and maiming, with 675 incidents.
The said the commitment to the Safe School Financing Plan isn’t unconnected with the resolve to ensure that all children encountered in the course of armed conflict in Nigeria or released from armed groups are quickly reunited with their families and benefit from reintegration programmes.
She lamented the increasing number of abductions nine years after 276 schoolgirls were whisked out of their dormitory in Chibok in the middle of the night, ’96 girls remain in captivity, and thousands more children have been subjected to grave violations of their rights.’
She further made reference to the 7 April 2023 incident where 80 children were reportedly abducted by militants in Zamfara State’s Tsafe Local Government Area according to local media. This, she insists, reinforces the urgent need for action to protect children in Nigeria.
“The statistics are disturbing; the reality is devastating. It has been 9 years since the horrendous abduction of the Chibok girls, yet the nightmare continues as children are still being kidnapped, forcibly recruited, killed and injured– their futures torn away,” said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of Nigeria’s children. We must do everything in our power to ensure they grow up in safety, with access to education and the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”
She warned that the impact of the conflict on education is alarming, with repercussions that will likely affect generations.
“The Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TCN) reports that, between 2009 and 2022, around 2,295 teachers were reportedly killed in attacks, over 19,000 teachers were displaced, more than 1,500 schools closed because of insecurity, and 910 schools were destroyed.”
UNICEF Nigeria calls on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and human rights law and protect the rights and well-being of children. UNICEF Nigeria stands committed to working with the government and partners to ensure that every child in Nigeria can enjoy their rights and live in a peaceful and prosperous society.