The United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) has revealed that 18.5 million children are currently are out of school in Nigeria.
It could be recalled that the UN agency had last year, estimated that 10.5 million children were out of school in Africa’s most populous country.
In a recent chat with newsmen, Rahama Farah, head of the UNICEF office in Kano (North), said “Currently in Nigeria, there are 18.5 million children out of school, 60% of whom (more than 10 million) are girls”.
According to Farah, the numerous attacks on schools by jihadists and criminal gangs in the north have particularly harmed children’s education.
“These attacks have created a precarious learning environment, discouraging parents and guardians from sending their children to school,” Farah insisted.It’s important to sadly note that since Boko Haram abducted 200 schoolgirls in the northeastern town of Chibok in 2014, dozens of schools have been targeted for similar mass abductions.
According to UNICEF, about 1,500 students were kidnapped by gunmen in the country last year. While most of the young hostages have since been released for ransom, some still remain in captivity in forests, havens of armed groups.
Farah noted that in the predominantly Muslim north, only one in four girls from “poor, rural families” finish secondary school. He added that insecurity “accentuates gender inequalities”.
The UN agency had also noted that violence and mass kidnappings have forced the authorities to close more than 11,000 schools in the country since December 2020.
According to the body, the situation has resulted in increasing cases of child marriage and early pregnancy.