Insecurity: Nigeria’s 10.5 Million Out-Of School Children Likely To Increase, Save The Children Warns

In Nigeria, the number of out-of-school children, according to UNICEF, was at 10.5million before the effects of the conflict, humanitarian crisis and COVID-19 pandemic were felt.

Save the Children has expressed concern over the impact of insecurity on children in Nigeria, particularly as it concerns their education.

In a statement released on Thursday, Sept. 9 to commemorate the second ‘International Day to Protect Education from Attack’, the organisation said that it was worried about the incessant attacks on schools, students, and teachers in Nigeria.

Save the Children cited a report by Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). According to the report, there were 100 cases of attacks on schools between 2015 and 2019.

It noted that between 2020 and 2021, the figures increased, which forced the government to order the closure of schools. Over 1000 children have been abducted in Nigeria since Jan. 2021 and August, the organisation said.

The INGO also cited a report which it released recently, listing the DRC, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Mali, and Libya as countries whose education systems are at ‘extreme risk’. 

The report, it said, followed research which found that “on average, children in low-income countries have lost 66 per cent more of their lifetime schooldays during the pandemic compared with their peers in well-off countries.”

Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, expressed grave concerns over the pitiable situation of education in Nigeria.

“When education is under attack, a generation is attacked,” she said, emphasising that children, girls and women are more vulnerable in times of conflict and that their vulnerability makes them more susceptible to trauma, fear, gender based violence, physical and sexual abuse which will force them to withdraw from school, hence “childhood dream fading away,” Gichuhi said. 

“With the total or partial closure of schools in Zamfara, Katsina, Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger and other wtates due to kidnapping and abduction of school children, the number of children that would be prevented from accessing education in Nigeria could be on the increase.”

The INGO said that the unprecedented crisis taking place across West and Central Africa (WCA) has put education in great risk, adding that “for the first time in human  history, an entire generation has had their education disrupted.”

It emphasised that WCA regions which already had lowest school enrolment rates in the world “in normal times,” stands to suffer dire consequences of coronavirus and violence which had bedeviled it recently.

Madina Abdulkadir, Save the Children Girl Champion in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria worried that schools are the first to suffer shutdown in the event of insecurities. 

“Closure of schools does not only affect our present but it also endangers our future.”

Save the Children urged the Nigerian government to come up with security measures that will ensure the safety of school children,their teachers and learning environment.

It equally called on “international partners and the Government of Nigeria to increase investment in education to address the multi-faceted factors affecting education in Nigeria.”

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Chigozie Victor

Chigozie Victor is a journalist and a creative writer. Her work focuses on SGBV, policy and security infrastructure. The graduate of English and Literature from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is passionate about helping audiences understand salient issues through clear reporting and multimedia journalism. She tweets at @nwaanyi_manaria

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