Boko Haram keeps a million children out of school: UNICEF
A boy plays atop firewood before women and children rescued from
Boko Haram in Sambisa forest by Nigeria Military arrive at the
Internally displaced people's camp in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria. File
photo Image by: REUTERS
Over 2,000 schools are closed across Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and
Niger, while hundreds of others have been attacked, looted, or set on
fire by Boko Haram jihadists in their quest to create an independent
Islamic state, said UNICEF.
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari
has given his military commanders until the end of the month to end the
Boko Haram insurgency, but even if victory is possible analysts say his
government will have to contend with social turmoil stemming from a
generation of children who have not gone to class.
they stay out of school, the greater the risks of being abused, abducted
and recruited by armed groups," said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF regional
director of West and Central Africa.
Boko Haram fighters stormed a
school in the remote northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok on April 14,
2014, seizing 276 girls who were preparing for end-of-year exams in an
abduction that shocked the world.
Since starting to wage war on
the Nigerian government in 2009, Boko Haram -- whose name means "Western
education is forbidden" -- has targeted schools, students and teachers.
fulfils their initial mandate, which is to topple Nigeria's secular
government and the Western tenants which underpinned that governance
structure," said Ryan Cummings, security analyst at Red24, a risk
Between bloody raids and incessant suicide
bombings, Boko Haram has severely damaged what little infrastructure
existed in Nigeria's impoverished northeast at a time when the commodity
dependant country is facing a cash crunch thanks to plunging oil
In the northeastern state of Borno, militants destroyed $1
billion (914 million euros) of infrastructure, including hospitals,
bridges, roads and homes, reported Governor Kashim Shettima in
The amount of "funds required for the rehabilitation,
reconstruction and resettlement of our people is so enormous," Shettima
Eradicating Boko Haram will not solve the education issue in
the region, said Yan St-Pierre, terrorism analyst at Modern Security
"There was already a problem with getting kids
to school on a regular basis that simply became worse once Boko Haram
emerged," said St-Pierre, speaking from Berlin.
liberated areas it's been difficult to restore functioning
infrastructure," said St-Pierre, "that's why we're talking about a
generational problem now, the structural problems, the financial
problems, this is going to take years to fix."
As the Nigerian
military wins back territory in the country's northeast, some schools
have been able to reopen, according to UNICEF, yet many are overcrowded
and lack the necessary supplies for children to learn.
are still too unsafe to resume class, with Boko Haram threatening in
December to mount mass abductions of students, according to Nigerian