NGO Calls for Child Protection in Schools

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Ugo Aliogo

As the world marks the International Day of Education today, an international non-governmental organisation; Plan International has made a call for the protection of children and schools.

The Country Director of Plan International Nigeria, Charles Usie in a statement expressed concerns over increasing violence on children at school across the country in recent time, with particular reference to the kidnap and murder of five-year-old Hanifa in Kano by her school proprietor and the slashing of the throat of a student in Maiduguri, Borno State by a fellow student.

“The school is hallowed ground for children and learners that must never be allowed to be desecrated,” he said. “The rising attacks on schools and innocent children by mean spirited people should never be allowed to take root,” Usie emphasized.

The statement also noted that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education in commemoration of the role of education for peace and development.

The statement also stated that without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries would not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.

According to the statement, “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) estimates that some 258 million children and youth still do not attend school globally; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school.”

“In Nigeria, about 10.5 million children are out of school – the highest in the world. Most of these children are in Nigeria’s northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where Boko Haram insurgency have disrupted academic activities.”

“When education is under attack, a generation is attacked. 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,” Usie said.