No fewer than 950 pupils have been abducted from their schools by gunmen in the last six months, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The United Nations (UN) agency expressed concern about the attacks and abduction of children in some parts of West and Central Africa.
Its concern was contained in a statement issued yesterday in New York, United States.
The UNICEF urged stakeholders in the education sector to unite at reducing children’s vulnerability and increasing their resilience to keep pupils safe from harm.
On last Monday’s abduction of more than 140 pupils from Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna, the statement reads, “On July 5, 150 students were reportedly abducted from a school in Nigeria’s Kaduna State, marking the latest incident in an alarming spate of attacks against children and abductions, including of students, in parts of West and Central Africa.
“We are deeply concerned that as in years past, non-state armed groups and parties to conflict in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Niger and Nigeria will ramp up these violent activities over the coming weeks ahead of the rainy season when their movements could be restricted by flooding.
“Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the UN estimates that, at least, 950 students have been abducted from their schools by armed men since December.
“Over the past six weeks alone, nearly 500 children were abducted in four separate incidents across the central and North-West parts of the country.
“Many of these children have not yet been returned. It is hard to fathom the pain and fear that their families and loved ones are suffering in their absence.”
On how to curb the trend, the UNICEF said, “It is not enough to condemn these crimes, not when millions of children face a worsening protection crisis. Children living in these areas need concerted action to ensure that they can safely live; go to school or fetch water without fear of being attacked or taken from their families.
“This starts with non-state armed groups and all parties to conflict who are committing violations of children’s rights – they have a moral and legal obligation to immediately cease attacks against civilians, and to respect and protect civilians and civilian objects during any military operations. They should also not impede but facilitate the efforts of UNICEF and other humanitarian actors on the ground working to reach vulnerable children.”
Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, has expressed alarm at the spate of attacks against children and their abductions, including students, in Nigeria and parts of West and Central Africa.
Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, StephaneDujarric stated this while briefing correspondents at the UN headquarters in New York.
Dujarric said Fore cited the latest report by the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, which said that one in three child victims of grave violations had been in West and Central Africa.
“She said that it is not enough to condemn these crimes and stressed that non-State armed groups and all parties to conflict, who are committing violations of children’s rights, have a moral and legal obligation to immediately cease attacks against children,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Fore said in a statement that the incidents appeared to be increasing in frequency, raising fears for the safety and wellbeing of children in the region.
Fore was reacting to the kidnapping of some 140 students from a boarding school in Kaduna State, Nigeria, on Monday.
“We are deeply concerned that as in years past, non-State armed groups and parties to conflict in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Niger and Nigeria will ramp up these violent activities over the coming weeks, ahead of the rainy season when their movements could be restricted by flooding.
“Every effort must be made to reverse the spiralling protection crisis for children as the region is on the brink of a catastrophe,” she said.
Fore reported that in Burkina Faso, attacks against civilians, as well as other violations of international humanitarian law had “spiked significantly” in recent weeks.
At least, 130 people were killed on Monday in an assault on a village in Yagha Province which, she said, was the single deadliest attack in the country since violence broke out in 2015.
Additionally, 178 civilians there, including children, had been killed so far this month, while violence had displaced upwards of 1.2million people, a ten-fold increase over three years.
The UNICEF chief listed more examples of attacks, abductions and other violations affecting children that had occurred in other countries in the region in recent months.
Fore stressed that it was not enough to just condemn these crimes, but to take concerted action so that children can live in safety.
“This starts with non-state armed groups and all parties to conflict who are committing violations of children’s rights.
“They have a moral and legal obligation to immediately cease attacks against civilians, and to respect and protect civilians and civilian objects during any military operations.
“They should also not impede but facilitate the efforts of UNICEF and other humanitarian actors on the ground working to reach vulnerable children,” she said.
The international community also has an important role to play, she added, including by increasing donor contributions to humanitarian organisations so that they can expand their work to reduce children’s vulnerabilities and keep them safe.
These operations include creating safe, temporary learning environments in areas where schools had closed due to insecurity, providing psychosocial support to children affected by violence, and supporting education on mine risk awareness.
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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