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UNICEF decries 1m out of school children in Nigeria over insecurity

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UNICEF decries 1m out of school children in Nigeria over insecurity

 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has decried the growing out-of-school children in Nigeria due to insecurity, saying as more than 37 million Nigerian children start the new school year but at least one million are being left behind – afraid to return to school due to insecurity.

The UN agency said 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 due to the spate of school attacks and student abductions in Nigeria over the last several months and the current climate of insecurity.

“A child’s first day of school should be an exciting event for parents and children – a landmark moment in their young lives, signalling new learning and new friends that will impact their future. This moment is being stolen from around a million Nigerian children this year, as insecurity threatens their safety and education.

“It is unacceptable that communities should be worried to send their children to school over fears they will be abducted from what should be a safe space. It is unacceptable that children need to fear returning to their friends and classrooms – and that parents are afraid that if they send their children to school, they may never return. This insecurity must end so that children can return to their normal lives and benefit from all the important things being in school brings to them,” UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins said.

In a related development, UNICEF and partners around the world are joining in a global ‘digital freeze’ on September 16, to protest children unable to access the classroom due to Covid-19 restrictions or other challenges, with social media platforms ‘frozen’ to draw attention to how many children are at risk of missing out on education. The organization estimates that a return to school has been delayed for an estimated 140 million children globally due to Covid-19.

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