Amnesty International says over 780 children have been abducted since the start of the year in Nigeria.
The global rights advocacy group made this known today in a piece titled ‘Nigeria: Escalating attacks targeting children endanger right to education’.
According to the organisation, more than 61 children are still in captivity months after mass abduction by bandits.
“Nigerian authorities are failing children as at least 61 children in northern Nigeria remain in captivity, months after their abduction during mass attacks on schools which also terminated the education of thousands of children while putting children in captivity through horrific and degrading treatment in the hands of bandits,” the piece said.
“Children in orphanages, schools and places of worship are often abducted and held in captivity for weeks, sometimes months depending on when or if the demands of their abductors are met. Children in school buses or walking to schools are also sometimes ambushed and abducted for ransom.
“School children in some parts of northern Nigeria are constantly at the risk death or abduction. More than 780 children have been abducted for ransom since February 2021 during mass attacks on schools or religious institutions, with some of the children killed during the attacks. Parents of the abducted children or the school authorities are sometimes made to provide food and clothing for the children while in captivity.
“The future of thousands of school children in Northern Nigeria remains bleak as hundreds of schools in some states have been closed indefinitely due to rising insecurity. Many children abandoned education due to the psychological trauma of witnessing violent attacks or living in captivity”.
Country Director, Osa Ojigho, said, “There is a deliberate attack on children by armed groups. Using children as shields or bargaining chips is unacceptable and must stop. The Nigeria government must investigate these attacks as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“Attacks on schools, abductions and killings of school children demonstrate an absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education. The Nigerian authorities must provide protection for schools and children. Attacks on schools are a violation of international law and the authorities must ensure that these attacks are properly investigated, and alleged perpetrators brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty”.