Statement by Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, on school attack in Zamfara State, north-west Nigeria

26 February 2021

LAGOS, Nigeria, 26 February 2021 - UNICEF today expressed concern at reports of an overnight attack at the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State, north-west Nigeria, where an unconfirmed number of schoolgirls were kidnapped.

“We are angered and saddened and by yet another brutal attack on schoolchildren in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

“This is a gross violation of children’s rights and a horrific experience for children to go through – one which could have long-lasting effects on their mental health and well-being. We utterly condemn the attack and call on those responsible to release the girls immediately and for the government to take steps to ensure their safe release and the safety of all other schoolchildren in Nigeria.”

“Children should feel safe at home and at school at all times – and parents should not need to worry for the safety of their children when they send them off to school in the morning,” said Peter Hawkins.

“UNICEF acknowledges efforts being made by the Government of Nigeria to secure the release of kidnapped schoolchildren in Nigeria and calls on the government and all concerned to make schools safe in Nigeria.”

The school attack comes just over a week after a similar attack in Niger State on a school for boys. UNICEF is working with partners to confirm the exact number of kidnapped students, currently estimated to be more than 300.

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