A total of 1,440 students were abducted in Nigeria in 2021 and 25 school attacks took place, UNICEF said Tuesday.
“Nigerian children continue to suffer the impact of crisis. A protracted conflict has been raging in north-east Nigeria for 12 years now,” the agency said in a statement. “Thousands of children in the region have been killed, maimed, abducted, displaced, and experienced multiple violations of their human rights.”
Noting that one out of four UN verified grave violations in the world was committed in West and Central Africa since 2005, UNICEF said more than 6,400 children were victims of one or more grave violations in the region in last year.
“Nigerian children – whether they are the direct targets of violence or collateral victims of conflict – are caught up in the ongoing insecurity we are seeing across the country. This is unacceptable,” said Phuong T. Nguyen, UNICEF head of the Maiduguri field office in Nigeria.
“This important report shows the extent of the grave violations of children’s rights in Nigeria and across the West and Central Africa region – violations that must be ended by all parties to conflict,” said Nguyen.
She said children “must have an opportunity” to grow, learn, work and contribute to the healthy future of the country. “That can only happen if they are protected from violence and the worst impacts of conflict,” and added.