World Bulletin / News Desk
In a statement ahead of Saturday’s four-year anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, UNICEF said the militants have upped the attacks on children with devastating effects on their education and future.
At least 112 of the girls remain in Boko Haram captivity. On Feb. 19, the militants again staged another mass kidnapping of some 112 schoolgirls and a boy in the northeastern town of Dapchi in Yobe state. All but one of the Dapchi children have been freed through backdoor negotiations.
“The four-year anniversary of the Chibok abduction reminds us that children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack on a shocking scale,” the statement quoted UNICEF representative in Nigeria Mohamed Malick Fall as saying.
“They are consistently targeted and exposed to brutal violence in their homes, schools and public places.”
The agency said the recent attack on a school in Dapchi in which five of the girls lost their lives was just the latest indication that there are few safe spaces left for children in the northeast.
“These repeated attacks against children in schools are unconscionable,” said Fall. “Children have the right to education and protection, and the classroom must be a place where they are safe from harm.”
On Saturday, the #BringBackOurGirls movement is to hold an anniversary lecture in the capital Abuja. The lecture is titled "Towards a just and good society: Renewing our commitment to the girl child in Nigeria".
Since the conflict started in northeastern Nigeria nearly nine years ago, at least 2,295 teachers have been killed and more than 1,400 schools have been destroyed. Most of these schools have not reopened because of extensive damage or ongoing insecurity.