United Nations Children’s Fund, on Monday, demanded the immediate and unconditional release of 150 students recently abducted at an Islamic school in Niger State.
UNICEF, in a statement on Monday, expressed concerns over the fate of the children whisked away by their abductors at Salihu Tanko Islamic School, Tegina, Rafi Local Government of Niger State two weeks ago.
The UN agency said it was concerned about the abducted children, some of whom are as young as three years old.
Officer in Charge, Representative of UNICEF Nigeria, Rushnan Murtaza, “As Nigeria just marked two weeks since the abduction of 150 students from the Salihu Tanko Islamiya School in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, north-central Nigeria, we are appalled that two weeks after 150 students were abducted from their school, they continue to be held by their abductors,” said
“Parents are grieving their children’s ‘disappearance’; siblings are missing their brothers and sisters – these children must be immediately and unconditionally released and safely reunited with their families.
“It is horrifying that schools and schoolchildren continue to be targets of attack – and in this particular incident, even children as young as three years old.
“We can only begin to imagine how frightened they are, and the impact this will have on their mental health and well-being.”
UNICEF stated that attacks on students and schools were not only reprehensible but a gross violation of the right of children to education.
It urged the Nigerian government to take all measures to protect schools in the country, and implement the promises made in the Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria Conference in April this year so that children will not be afraid of going to school, and parents won’t be apprehensive to send their children to school.
“Schools must be safe places to study and develop, and learning should not be a risky endeavour,” said Rushnan Murtaza. “There are very few – if any – things more important for any society than ensuring the safe education of its children,” UNICEF said.