The Presidency has lamented the impact of insurgency and banditry on school attendance in the country noting that over 12 million children have been forced out of school.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Chief of Staff to the Presidency, Ibrahim Gambari who said this on Tuesday, October 27, at the fourth International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration in Abuja.
Gambari, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event lamented the increasing trend of school kidnaping noting that although the abducted students are eventually released, the trauma lingers.
“It is disheartening to note that even when the abducted students are released, the trauma of the incidences remains long in their minds; hence the plan to have teachers trained on psycho-social support.
“There are more than 12 million children currently out of school and the wider implication of the ongoing is that of a generation of children traumatised and afraid of going to school, especially the girl child,” he said.
The Presidency aide pointed out that fear of abduction and a traumatic experience from school children; who have been victims of kidnapping, has forced many children of school age to stay out of educational institutions; thereby increasing the problem of out-of-school children.
“The incessant attacks on the country’s educational system in the form of kidnapping, abduction of pupils; students through the increased activities of insurgents and general insecurity in our schools have been chief among contributing factors responsible for the growing number of out-of-school children.
“These perpetrators of evil, having turned their attention to innocent children in boarding schools or institutions outside city limits; adopt young learners in large numbers,” Gambari said.
The Chief of Staff, however, assured Nigerians that the government is mindful of the fact that; to record adequate achievements in the education sector, the system would require a total overhaul and changes to improve the education sector.
The first mass school abduction in the country was in the northeast region in 2014; when Boko Haram members picked 276 girls from Chibok; triggering a global campaign called #BringBackOurGirls.
Since then, attacks on schools have grown in number; and spread across the northern part of the country.
The President’s Chief of staff, however, assured that efforts are ongoing to curb the ugly trend.
“This remains a challenge that we are working towards overcoming; by deploying orthodox and unorthodox methods.
“I must tell you that it has been tough dealing with these security challenges and their effect. Moving forward, our faith in the nation is unshaken. We are strong, we remain so; and we are determined and robust in order to enhance the security of our learning institutions.”