Chibok Girls: Government Must Implement Safe School Policy

There are many reasons why Nigeria is unlikely to achieve the education-for-all goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, and insecurity in schools is one of them.

Development Diaries reports that 14 April, 2024, marks a decade since terrorists abducted 276 schoolgirls in the town of Chibok, Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

For the families of the over 90 young women still unaccounted for, it has been 3,650 days of agony and horrific nightmares. It has also been a decade of injustice to their daughters’ stolen freedom and humanity.

Ten years on, schools in Nigeria have continued to witness frequent kidnappings, particularly in the country’s northern region, and nothing much is being done to stop it.

It is quite unfortunate that Nigeria, which has one of the most powerful armies in the West African region, is having difficulty addressing the growing insecurity that endangers marginalised communities.

Figures from Save the Children in 2023 show that over 1,680 schoolchildren have been kidnapped in Nigeria since the 2014 Chibok abduction.

Despite promises of reform and increased security measures, subsequent incidents, including the 2021 kidnapping of over 300 schoolboys in Kankara, the recent abduction of  287 students from the government secondary school in Kuriga, Kaduna State, and the abduction of 17 pupils from a boarding school in Gidan Bakuso, Sokoto State, highlight the government’s ineffectiveness in addressing the root causes of such attacks and implementing sustainable solutions.

Though over 130 victims from Kaduna and the victims from Sokoto have since been freed, there is still no information available on the remaining abductees.

The persistent insecurity in Nigerian schools not only deprives countless children of their right to education but also creates a climate of fear and uncertainty among students, parents, and teachers.

Urgent action is needed to address the systemic issues underlying these attacks, including corruption. And in the absence of resolute steps to guarantee the security of schools and students, Nigeria runs the risk of sentencing subsequent generations to a life of violence and hardship, thereby weakening the foundation of its community.

Development Diaries calls on the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to mobilise all available resources to secure the release of all the women and girls still in captivity.

We also call on the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, to ensure the implementation of the National Policy on Safety, Security, and Violence-Free Schools to guarantee the security of schools and students.

Without decisive measures to ensure the safety of schools and students, Nigeria risks condemning future generations to a cycle of violence and deprivation, further eroding the fabric of its society.

Photo source: BBC


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