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936 Nigerian students kidnapped by bandits, terrorists in 6 months, fueling Out-of-School children increase

At least 936 students of secondary and tertiary institutions were abducted by bandits and Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in Nigeria between December 2020 and June 5, 2021.

The abductions is worsening the number of out of school children in the country.

In March, Nigeria’s Ministry of Education said the number of Out-of-School Children in the country stands at 10.1 million, 3,247,590 more than 6.946 million recorded a year earlier.

The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) says recent attacks on schools in parts of Northern Nigeria is fueling the number.

Experts however fear that the number of Out-of-School Children in the country could increase to about 30 per cent of the student population.

During the period under review, abductions in schools were recorded in Ohordua, Edo State; Effurun, Delta State; Kankara, Kaduna State; and Mahuta village, Katsina State.

Other places where cases of abduction were recorded are Kagara, Niger State; Jangebe, Zamfara State; and Afaka, Kaduna State.

Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Bem Goong, while stating that the Federal Government was working hard to ensure that schools were safe, enjoined the State governments to do the same.

Goong said: “If you go to our Unity Schools, you will notice the presence of security operatives. During the 2021 Common Entrance Examination monitoring exercise, the Permanent Secretary also added that Unity Schools are the safest and it is because we have deployed security operatives there.”

The Zamfara State Government said it would close down boarding schools till security situation improved in the State.

The State Commissioner for Education, Aliyu Tukur, said, “A committee has been constituted to look into the possibility of reopening the boarding schools that are not prone to attacks by bandits. We have deployed security operatives in schools that are open and we have organised workshops for school principals.”

A security expert, Nnamdi Chife, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resuscitate the Safe School Initiative.

Chife said: “The government of President Jonathan designed a security strategy called Safe School Initiative, which was meant to provide comprehensive security for the schools that were under attack by the Boko Haram. It is high time for this administration to resuscitate that security programme to provide safe corridor for students. Otherwise, we may lose a generation.”

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