23 December 2015 – That’s right, UNICEF have confirmed that over 1 million children are being prevented from going to school due the violent attacks of Boko Haram. Boko Haram’s ferocious attacks in the last 6 months has led to the closure of over 2000 schools across north east Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
“The conflict has been a huge blow for education in the region, and violence has kept many children out of the classroom for more than a year, putting them at risk of dropping out of school altogether,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s West and Central Africa regional director.
Up to now many children have been targeted by Boko Haram and have been victims of atrocities including sexual abuse, rape, abductions and forced marriage, as well as brutal killings. Traumatised by these acts of savagery, parents are keeping their children away from school classes, and national governments fear that a large portion of these children will never return to school.
This has resulted in Nigeria ranking second only to Pakistan when it comes to number of children out of school.
Who are Boko Haram?
Founded in 2002, the words “Boko Haram” mean “Western education is forbidden” in Hausa, the predominant language in northern Nigeria. They launched their military operations in 2009, and since then have killed thousands of people, and have abducted hundreds, including 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. They recently joined forces with Islamic State and have claimed the north-east of Nigeria to be an IS Caliphate.