NGOs condemn killing of 47 Nigerian students, urge government to better protect schools

Two children’s rights NGOs have strongly condemned the recent massacre of 47 students in Yobe State, Nigeria by a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber.

Ms Debbie Ariyo, Chief Executive of AFRUCA UK wondered why school children should be exposed to harm when the government responsible for their security has no adequate safeguard structure in place

The UK based Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA) and Nigerian organisation, the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) described the 10th November cold-blooded murder of students in their school assembly as “one massacre too many of defenceless and hapless Nigerian children.”

The organizations expressed “deep shock” at the latest massacre of innocent children at Government Comprehensive Senior Science Secondary School, Potiskum, Yobe State, North East Nigeria.

The “Nigerian government must rise to the occasion in performing its constitutional duty of ensuring full protection for its citizens, especially the very vulnerable, including school children, who have a fundamental right to acquiring education without violence, and these constitutional rights must be upheld by all,” AFRUCA and CEE-HOPE said in a joint statement.

“It is the height of insanity for any group waging a war against a state to have, as its sole characteristic, the brutal annihilation of harmless and completely hapless citizens. It beats every human imagination and these wanton destructions should attract global condemnation and action,” they said.
Debbie Ariyo (OBE), Chief Executive of AFRUCA UK wondered what became of the highly publicized Safer School Initiative launched at the UK House of Commons by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister on 2nd July 2014.

She also wondered why school children should be exposed to harm when the government responsible for their security has no adequate safeguard structure in place.

“It is truly incredible that since the Chibok Secondary School abductions in April 2014, nothing seemed to have been done to ensure better protection for schools in the areas where Boko Haram are known to be operating. There are many well qualified Nigerians in the diaspora who can be called upon to help but this is not happening. Instead, we have to contend with gory details of schools being attacked and children being massacred,” Ms Ariyo said.

Betty Abah, CEE-HOPE’s Founder and Executive Director faulted what she described as another round of government insensitivity in the face of unprecedented and preventable waste of Nigerian lives in recent times.
“It is not enough to make an already scripted message perennially ‘condemning’ acts of terrorism against innocent Nigerians and this time, vulnerable children whose only crime is aspiring for an education that would better their lives,” said Ms Abah. “The government must show that it is capable of not only protecting Nigerians in every corner of the country but is also sensitive to their sufferings and grief, and respects the memory of the needlessly slain.”
AFRUCA and CEE-HOPE appealed to the UN to intervene in order to ensure the protection of lives especially children and vulnerable people in Nigeria.