Niger State: UNICEF calls for release of abducted Students
Temitope Mustapha, Abuja
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the 150 abducted students from the Salihu Tanko Ishlamiya school in Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger state
The Deputy Country Representative of UNICEF Nigeria, Rushnan Murtaza, who made the call in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, expressed deep concern about the fate of the children, some of whom are as young as 3 years of age and called on their abductors to immediately and unconditionally release them.
“We are appalled that two weeks after 150 students were abducted from their school, they continue to be held by their abductors
“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 3 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.” Murtaza said.
UNICEF stressed that attacks on students and schools are a gross violation of the right of children to an education.
The UN agency however called on 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 2021.
“Schools must be safe places to study and develop, and learning should not be a risky endeavour. There are very few – if any – things more important for any society than ensuring the safe education of its children,” said Rushnan Murtaza.