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UNICEF Demands Immediate, Unconditional Release of 150 Abducted Islamiya Schoolchildren

The UN agency said it is bothered about the fate of the children, some of who are as young as three years old.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has called for the speedy and unconditional release of 150 Tsangaya pupils kidnapped at the Salisu Tanko Islamiya school in Tegina, Rafi local government area of Niger State.

UNICEF made the call for the first time since the abduction of the children had taken place two weeks ago.


The UN agency in a statement, Monday, said it is bothered about the fate of the children, some of who are as young as three years old.

“We are appalled that two weeks after 150 students were abducted from their school, they continue to be held by their abductors,” said Rushnan Murtaza, Officer in Charge, Representative UNICEF Nigeria.

“Parents are grieving their children’s disappearance, siblings are missing their brothers and sisters – these children must be immediately and unconditionally released and safely reunited with their families.

“It is horrifying that schools and schoolchildren continue to be targets of the attack – and in this particular incident, even children as young as 3 years old. We can only begin to imagine how frightened they are, and the impact this will have on their mental health and well-being,” it said. 

UNICEF said the right of children to education is a right that any society can ill-afford to violate.

The organisation urged the Nigerian Government to take all measures to protect schools in the country and implement the promises made in financing safe schools in Nigeria so that children will not be scared and worried about going to school and parents afraid of sending their children to school.

“Schools must be safe places to study and develop, and learning should not be a risky endeavour,” said Rushnan Murtaza. “There are very few – if any – things more important for any society than ensuring the safe education of its children,” it added.