So far, there has been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria this year, with more than 1,400 children abducted and 16 dead, UNICEF said, adding that more than 200 children are still missing.
“Learners are being cut off from their education… as families and communities remain fearful of sending children back to their classrooms due to the spate of school attacks and student abductions in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.
More than 37 million Nigerian children are due to start the new school year this month, UNICEF said.
An estimated eight million have had to wait for more than a year for in-person learning after schools were closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
In Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the start of the school term has been pushed back to an unusually late date without explanation, after schools in nearby states were targeted by kidnappers seeking ransoms.
Mobile network providers in Zamfara state were directed to shut down communications for two weeks “to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state,” the Nigeria Communications Commission said in a letter.
The directive came after at least 73 students were abducted from a state-run high school in Zamfara’s Maradun district. All those students have been freed.