Save the Children, a humanitarian agency has said about 2.2 million school-aged children and teachers needs emergency educational support in North-east Nigeria.
The humanitarian agency also said over 800 schools in Borno State are non-functional mainly due to inaccessibility as a result of insecurity.
An ambassador of the organisation, Florence Otedola popularly known as “DJ Cuppy”, disclosed this during a press conference Wednesday in Abuja.
Ms Otedola, who is also a board member of Save the Children’s African Advisory Board, said basic education in the region is under attack and ”now is the time to change that.”
”Statistics according to the Humanitarian Needs Overview estimates that 2.2 million school aged children and teachers in North-eastern Nigeria need immediate education in emergency support,” she said.
Ms Otedola, who had just gotten back from her trip to the stabilisation centre operated by the Save The Chidren in Borno State, shared her experience on what children are forced to endure.
“This morning, I was able to observe and learn about childhoods that come to an early end, significantly because of ill-health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, child marriage, early pregnancy and violent death,” she said.
”My vision is to save every child I can,” she said.
Also, the Director, Advocacy and Campaign, Save the Children, Amanuel Mamo, said the federal and state ministries of women affairs and social development are mounting pressure on state assemblies to domesticate the child rights act which defines the legal age of marriage as 18.
”The ministries are also promoting education, especially the education of the girl child,” he said.
Currently, 11 northern states in Nigeria are yet to pass a child rights law despite its obvious benefits for children.
The states are Bauchi, Yobe, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Borno, Zamfara, Gombe, Katsina, Kebbi, and Jigawa.
The document was adopted on November 20, 1989 by the UN General Assembly, and was ratified by 194 state parties, except Somalia.
It covers civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, thus underscoring the indivisibility and equal importance of all rights.
Nigeria adopted the Child Rights Act in 2003 to domesticate the international Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Since 2009, the North-east Nigeria has witnessed incessant attacks by Boko Haram which has left families displaced and children out of school.
According to the UN humanitarian wing, OCHA, in 2018 , 7.7 million people in Nigeria were in need of humanitarian assistance, and 1.7 million people were classified as “food insecure” between October and December.
The federal government in 2018 said the security report coming from North-eastern Nigeria is worrisome.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the insurgents stormed the Government Secondary School, Chibok, and abducted over 200 girls on April 14, 2014.
Over 100 of the girls were later released through negotiations brokered between the Nigerian government and the terrorists by some parties, including Switzerland.
The insurgents also kidnapped 105 schoolgirls in Dapchi in Yobe State, 75 kilometres south of the Nigerian border with Niger Republic.
Leah Sharibu, one of the kidnapped girls, is reportedly still in the captivity of the terrorists years later.
Save The Children is a non-governmental organization that exists to improve the lives of children through better education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.
The organisation has been working in Nigeria since 2001 and has offices situated around 12 states around the country.