Amnesty International: Attacks on Niger Students Undermine Right to Education

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By Iyobosa Uwugiaren

A global human rights group, Amnesty International, said yesterday that the abduction of 42 students and teachers by gunmen at the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State, in the early hours of yesterday, was capable of undermining the rights to education of the victims.

While condemning the criminal action of the gunmen, the group described the attack as “appalling,” saying it is the latest in a string of attacks on schools in northern Nigeria.

“Attacks on schools and abductions of children are war crimes. Those found to be responsible of the abduction must be brought to justice for these and other human rights abuses”, the Director of Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho, said.

“Education is under attack in northern Nigeria. Schools should be places of safety, and no child should have to choose between their education and their life. Other children have had to abandon their education after being displaced by frequent violent attacks on their communities, and many teachers have been forced to flee to other states.”

The group advised the Nigerian authorities to act immediately to prevent attacks on schools, and protect children’s lives and their right to education.

The rights group added that the protection of children’s lives is paramount, stating that the Nigerian government has a duty to ensure that the country’s educational sector is not further threatened by armed groups on rampage across northern Nigeria.

The group added: “The attack on Government Science College Kagara is a serious violation of international humanitarian law, and it undermines the right to education for thousands of children in northern Nigeria.

“The abduction of students by armed groups can severely reduce the availability of and access to education for many children in northern Nigeria where violent attacks are escalating.”

It said the attack, which came only about three months after a similar incident at a school in Kankara, Katsina State, shows that authorities are not doing enough to protect lives, adding that the children abducted
are in serious risk of being harmed.