By Ishaq Zaki
Save the Children International (SCI), an NGO, has called for the immediate release of 300 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara, abducted by gunmen on Friday.
In a statement issued in Gusau on Saturday, SCI’s Country Director, Mrs Mercy Gichuhi, said the NGO was horrified about the “unfortunate and unacceptable kidnap”.
She stressed that schools should never be a place of fear.
“Sadly, this is only the latest in a series of abductions in the northwest region. Over the past months, hundreds of children in Nigeria have gone through the trauma of being abducted by armed groups.
“SCI warns that being kidnapped, witnessing kidnappings, experiencing school attacks, and being forced to flee and take refuge from armed groups are extremely traumatising for young children and adolescents, including girls,” she said.
According to her, the organisation is deeply concerned about the protection of children in places that should be the safest for them.
“Schools are supposed to be safe learning zones for children to play, learn, realise and release their full potential. Instead, they are being turned into places of fear.
“The attacks on schools, students and teachers is very unfortunate, children have the right to have access to quality education in a safe environment,” she added.
Gichuhi said also that the attack and abductions could cause severe psychological trauma to children and put them at risk of never returning to school, as they or their parents think of the dangers involved.
“The children and their parents must be given adequate psycho-social support for a swift return to normal life, and those who are still missing must be found as soon as possible.
“We call upon all parties to refrain from targeting school children and to ensure that the kidnapped girls in Zamfara are immediately released and returned to their families.
“Save the Children urges the Nigerian government to ensure that children have access to safe, quality and uninterrupted education at all levels,” she stressed.
The statement was signed by Malam Murtala Bello, SCI Zamfara State Programme Manager. (NAN)