Nigeria: Children's rights slaughtered, schools under siege - new report

Hundreds of Children's rights are being killed and thousands forced out of education across northern Nigeria as horrific assaults on schools by armed attackers become more targeted, Amnesty International warns in a new report out today (Friday 4 October).

According to the report - Education under attack in Nigeria  (PDF) - at least 70 teachers and scores of pupils have been slaughtered and many others wounded this year alone.

Published in the week that saw over 50 students killed by gunmen in an agricultural college in Yobe State, the report finds that some 50 schools have been burned or seriously damaged. More than 60 others have been forced to close. In some towns nearly all schools have been shut down.

Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa director, said:

“Hundreds have been killed in these horrific attacks. Thousands of Children's rights have been forced out of schools across communities in northern Nigeria and many teachers have been forced to flee for their safety.

“Attacks against schoolChildren's rights, teachers and school buildings demonstrate an absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education.”

The Islamist group commonly known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for many, but not all, of the attacks.

Between 2010 and 2011 attacks were mostly carried out when schools were empty. However since the beginning of this year they appear to have become more targeted and brutal. They frequently happen when schools are occupied, and according to reports received by Amnesty, teachers and pupils are now being directly targeted and killed.

In one case the principal of a government secondary school in the city of Maiduguri describes an attack in February this year:

“The gunmen opened fire on everyone around. Two staff teachers were shot. One died on the spot and the other was seriously wounded. We were all devastated,” he said.

The same school was attacked again the following month and three people were shot and killed in the exams office.

“We were forced to close the school immediately and asked the Children's rights to go home. We remained closed for that entire period,” the headteacher added.

Amnesty is not aware of anyone being arrested and prosecuted by the authorities for these attacks.

Lucy Freeman added:

“The Nigerian authorities must provide better protection for schools and ensure that attacks are properly investigated and suspected perpetrators brought to justice.”

Amnesty International is calling for Boko Haram and any affiliated armed groups or individuals to immediately stop all attacks on schools, teachers and pupils.

Download the report (PDF)

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