Kankara: UNICEF calls for release of children held captive in Nigeria

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for release of children still held captive in Nigeria, while the world body is relieved to hear that 344 Abducted school boys in Kankara, Katsina State, are reported to have been released, looking forward to their safe returns to their families.

The UNICEF Nigeria Representatives, Peter Hawkins made this call in a statement on the release of the schoolboys on Friday, he said attack directly targeting children in the middle of the night, in a place where they should feel safe, was an outrage.

He added that schools should be safe. “Children should never be the target of attack and yet, far too often in Nigeria, they are precisely that victims of attacks on their schools. No cause justifies attacks against children and schools. Such cruel disregard for humanity must come to an end.

“Attacks on educational facilities are a grave violation of children’s rights. This incident is a disturbing reminder of the heavy toll that violence takes on civilians in north-west Nigeria, including children. Such attacks deprive children of the right to an education.

“They make children fearful of going to the classroom, and parents afraid to send their children to school. Schools must be safe places to study and develop, and learning cannot become a perilous endeavor”, he said.

He further said that interventions must be put in place to ensure that schools are safe, and that all Nigerian children can learn without fear. These interventions should take into account the important role that communities can play in ensuring the safety of schools.

While narrating the unfortunate incident. “It has been now almost one week exactly since the appalling attack on the Government Boys Science Secondary School in the Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, an attack that shocked the country.

“For one week, parents were awake at night, crying and awaiting the return of their sons. My thoughts and solidarity are with these children, their families and the Kankara community who have endured an unimaginable ordeal this past week”, he said.

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