The ongoing threat of Boko Haram in Nigeria has forced more than 57 percent of schools to be closed in the country’s Borno state. This has left an “estimated 3 million children in need of emergency education support,” as reported by The United Nations Children’s Fund. Children in Nigeria are currently suffering from Boko Haram’s violent presence in the nation. UNICEF estimates 1 million children have been displaced so far.
UNICEF states that “since 2009, across the northeast, over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 have been displaced and that almost 1,400 schools have been destroyed.” Moreover, at the end of his visit to Nigeria, Justin Forsyth, the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, commented on the horrible circumstances in the Northeast: “Children in northeast Nigeria are living through so much horror.”
Education is an important tool for Nigerian children as it can build a sense of hope. However, there are numerous dangers affecting not only the children’s access to education but their overall well-being. Justin Forsyth comments on these dangers: “In addition to devastating malnutrition, violence and an outbreak of cholera, the attacks on schools is in danger of creating a lost generation of children, threatening their [livelihood] and the country’s future.”
UNICEF has made numerous approaches to assist and establish a secure education system. Alongside their partners, they are working towards rehabilitating schools, classrooms and training teachers in Nigeria. Furthermore, some children that are living in displaced camps in the Northeast actually have access to an education. UNICEF reports that ‘in the Muna Garage camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri, an estimated 90 per cent of students were enrolled in school for the first time.’ Evidently, UNICEF is making an attempt to improve Nigerian children’s well-being. However, their emergency programs that target the dangers in northeast Nigeria are apparently underfunded, with UNICEF itself reporting that “with only three months left in the year, UNICEF has a 40 percent finding gap in its needs for 2017.”
The violence in Nigeria is unfortunately ongoing. The battle between Boko Haram and the military has caused a humanitarian crisis that Amnesty International states “affected more than 14 million people.” Moreover, UNICEF specifically reports on the suffering of children in this humanitarian crisis and presents the horrible fact that an estimated 100 children so far have been used as human bombs this year. The efforts of UNICEF and its partners are certainly benefiting Nigerian children, but as violence continues to occur, the need for aid and establishing a secure environment rises. An increase in commitment from the international community is definitely needed to support life-saving efforts in Nigeria. Amnesty International further expresses this view in their latest article “Lake Chad region: Boko Haram’s renewed campaign sparks sharp rise in civilian deaths,” they call for help, saying that “millions remain in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and protection as attacks and increased insecurity hamper aid efforts.”
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