Owning to the recurring attacks on schools by bandits which has led to closure in some Northern states, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned about an increasing level of illiteracy amongst schoolchildren.
This was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by Peter Hawkins, the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria who noted that at least one million children had dropped out due to fear of abductions and bandits’ attacks.
In its estimate, there have been 20 attacks on schools this year, leading to the abduction of 1,436 children, 16 deaths and more than 200 children missing.
“As more than 37 million Nigerian children start the new school year this month, at least one million are being left behind; afraid to return to school due to insecurity.
“Learners are being cut off from their education and other vital benefits schools provide, as families and communities remain fearful of sending children back to their classrooms.
“This is due to the spate of school attacks and student abductions in Nigeria over the last several months and the current climate of insecurity.
“So far this year, there have been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria, with 1,436 children abducted and 16 children dead. More than 200 children are still missing,” Hawkins explained.
As a result, the UNICEF official urged the Federal Government to ramp up security measures in order to redress the scourge because “for the most vulnerable children, including children affected by conflict, girl children, and children with disabilities, their risk of never stepping into a classroom in their lifetime is skyrocketing.
“We need to end this insecurity and make our priorities clear, that Nigerian children can and must be allowed to benefit from an education in a safe space.
“A child’s first day of school should be an exciting event for parents and children, a landmark moment in their young lives, signaling 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 said.
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