The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has condemned in strong terms the recent abduction of students by bandits in Kaduna State.

The children’s charity said immediate and determined action from all levels of government and society is required, following the alarming frequency of such incidents across the country.

UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, in a statement on Friday, explained that UNICEF was coordinating with local officials and providing assistance to the affected parents and families through psychological support services.

On Thursday morning, bandits abducted over 280 pupils and teachers of the Government Secondary School and LEA primary school at Kuriga, Kaduna State after they shot sporadically, causing panic in the area.

Munduate expressed sadness and concern about the reports of another abduction of students in Kaduna State, saying that schools are supposed to be sanctuaries of learning and growth, not sites of fear and violence.

She added, “This latest abduction, as any previously, is highly condemnable and part of a worrying trend of attacks on educational institutions in Nigeria, particularly in the northwest, where armed groups have intensified their campaign of violence and kidnappings. Just a day before this incident, the UN Resident Coordinator spoke about the abductions of large numbers of women, girls, and boys by members of a non-state armed group in Borno state.”

UNICEF also urged immediate action to ensure the safe return of the abducted children and staff and called on authorities to implement comprehensive measures to secure schools across Nigeria.

Munduate said it was imperative that the safety and security of students and educators are guaranteed, allowing schools to fulfil their role as safe havens for learning and development.

She explained that the right to education is fundamental and must be protected against any form of violence or intimidation.

“The right to education is fundamental and must be protected against any form of violence or intimidation. The children of Nigeria deserve to learn in peace,” she emphasized.

She said the UN Children’s Agency is dedicated to collaborating with government entities, local communities and various partners to tackle the fundamental issues leading to violence against children and to safeguard educational environments from threats and violence.

Every child, she said deserves to grow up in an environment of peace, away from the looming shadows of threats and insecurity, lamenting that unfortunately, Nigerians are currently facing a significant deterioration in community safety, with children disproportionately suffering the consequences of this decline in security.

UNICEF condemns abduction of students in Kaduna

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