The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, has lamented the captivity of 96 out of the 276 Chibok girls abducted in Northeast Nigeria nine years ago.
Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, stated this in a press statement issued to DAILY POST.
She expressed her concerns over the conditions of Nigerian children, saying that children in Nigeria continue to suffer the brutal consequences of conflict.
Munduate said this while reacting to the recent incident where another 80 children were abducted by militants in Zamfara State’s Tsafe Local Government.
According to her, from 2014 to date, there have been over 2,400 incidents of grave violations affecting over 6,800 children in the northeastern part of the country.
She said these and more reinforce the urgent need for action from all to protect children in Nigeria.
“The statistics are disturbing; the reality is devastating therefore 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 and will likely affect generations,” she said.
According to the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TCN) reports, 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 also commended Nigeria’s Government for signing the UNICEF-supported handover protocol and its commitment to invest N144.8 billion ($314.5 million) towards the Safe Schools Financing Plan in 2022.
She, however, promised to support the government in its implementation to ensure that all children encountered during the armed conflict in Nigeria or released from armed groups are quickly reunited with their families and benefit from reintegration programs.
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.