By Ruth Oketunde
Chairman, Education Committee, Nigeria-British Business Forum, Mrs Ibironke Adeagbo, has appealed to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres, to speak out on recurring school kids abductions in Nigeria.
Adeagbo, also, Chief Executive Officer, UK Child’s Rights Group and founder, I-A Foundation, made the appeal in an e-mail sent to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
NAN reports that the Education Committee of Nigeria-British Business Forum is a think-thank set up to enable professionals in diaspora to contribute toward economic development of Nigeria.
Adeagbo said the appeal to the world body was to draw international attention to “the depressing incidents of kidnappings in Nigeria which has been forcing millions of children out of school.”
“Our appeal comes against the backdrop of the recurring abductions of young people in Nigeria – a development that is clearly affecting the future of the country and its young people,” she said.
Adeagbo also works in a unit of the UK Home Office, set up to prevent children and young people from getting involved in crime.
She said I-A Foundation had been at the forefront of ensuring that out-of-school children in Nigeria were empowered to get education and make something meaningful out of their lives.
Adeagbo pleaded for UN to launch a rescue plan to help Nigeria to stop the recurring abductions, especially in the northwest where scores of school children had been abducted in their schools in recent times.
She cited the attack on Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State, with kidnappers demanding about N80 million to release 80 kids snatched from the school.
Adeagbo also cited the 15 students and four staff of the College of Agriculture and Animal Science in Bakura, Zamfara State, abducted two weeks ago with the abductors demanding N350 million before their release.
She said that the international community should step in to tackle the matter decisively.
Adeagbo said the persistent abductions had forced millions of children to stay out of school to avoid kidnapping.
According to her, this development will eventually destroy the future of education in a country where up to 13 million children are already out of school.
“IA-Foundation believed it was important for Nigeria to be intentional in ensuring that our youths are well equipped through the education system to compete on the global stage.
”This cannot be achieved with school children being kidnapped all the time.
“Nigeria is blessed to have resilient, creative and intelligent youth population.
”Therefore, government needs to invest heavily in the education sector, especially in upscaling teachers,’’ Adeagbo stated.
She noted, however, that education development would only be possible in an atmosphere of peace, where everyone, especially youths would have unrestricted opportunities to prosper in various endeavours.
Adeagbo also appealed to the Nigerian government to rise up to the challenges.
She said that Nigeria would overcome its current common challenges with unity of purpose and staying together. (NAN)