Shannon Ward, Save the Children’s Acting Country Director in Nigeria, said:
“We are deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of the children who have been abducted by suspected gunmen in Katsina State in North West Nigeria. Hundreds of students appear to still be missing. Schools should be a place of safety and learning but for these boys and their families, it has turned into a nightmare.
“This could have a deep impact on children – not only the boys who were taken, but also the ones who had to flee and hide from gun violence or those who saw what happened.
“We condemn any attack on schools and students as a grave violation of children’s rights – they should be able to go to school safely to learn and interact with their friends and teachers. The recruitment of children by armed groups in the Sahel region has been on the rise, but children have no place in conflict or violence.
“We call upon all parties to ensure that the missing students are returned to their families and their schools immediately.
“Nigeria is set to host the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools in 2021 and is one of the first African countries to endorse the Safe School Declaration (‘SSD’). We urge the Government to ensure that Nigerian children have access to safe, quality and uninterrupted education at all levels.”
Save the Children was one of the first humanitarian organizations that responded to the humanitarian crisis in the North-East of Nigeria, reaching 1.2 million people since the start of our response. We are providing food assistance and protection services to more than 320,000 internally displaced children and families on a regular basis.
Save the Children works in over 100 countries around the world in both humanitarian and development settings. We work in partnership with governments, the United Nations, donors and other NGOs to support children and their families in crisis and to ensure children can learn, survive and enjoy a safe environment so that they can reach their full potential in life.
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