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Attacks on schools have been frequent since 2012.
Since the beginning of 2012, at least 15,000 students have been forced out of schools in Borno State and over 70 teachers and 100 students killed or wounded following the increasing attacks on educational institutions by Boko Haram and affiliates.
This was made known by Amnesty International in a report released on Thursday.
In the comprehensive report titled “‘Keep Away From Schools or We’ll Kill You’: Education Under Attack in Nigeria”, the global human rights group described the attack on educational institution as an absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education, as well as a crime against humanity.
As a result of the deadly attacks on teachers and pupils, almost all schools in Bama, Baga, Jajeri, Umarari Garnam, Mai Malari, Mungono and Gamboru were forced to close between February 2012 and June 2013, the report stated.
It called on the government to live up to its responsibility of providing protection for schools in the region, investigating these attacks and bringing those responsible to justice.
“The Nigerian government is obliged, as part of its obligation under Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, ICESCR, to protect everybody’s right to education and to take measures that prevent third parties from interfering with the enjoyment of the right,” the report noted.
The organisation regretted the increase in the attack of schools since the declaration of a State of Emergency in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States.
“Since the beginning of 2013, attacks appear to have become more brutal. They frequently happen when schools are occupied, and according to reports received by Amnesty International, teachers and pupils are now being directly targeted and killed.
In some attacks, teachers have been killed on school premises in full view of children. In others, school buildings have been set on fire and school property destroyed.”
Amnesty said teachers in rural communities were particularly susceptible to these attacks. It observed that several attacks on schools in rural communities remained unreported.
“Teachers in northern Borno were particularly at risk because many of the towns and communities were completely outside the control of the government. Even when some teachers continued to teach, they were constantly being monitored by the group. Members of the group will stand outside the classrooms to listen to the lessons. It was like teaching under gunpoint. The situation is worse for us who have received Western education and teach English in the public schools in northern Borno,” said H.H, a Bornu based teacher who was forced to flee after he was threatened by Boko Haram.
“Many school buildings remain destroyed, damaged and unused. When schools are burnt down, it is not only the classrooms that are lost, leaving children with nowhere to learn, but also all the teaching materials, equipment and school records. Some schools have been burnt down two or three times since 2012.
The destruction of and damage to school infrastructure and facilities grossly reduces the availability of and access to education for many children in Borno state.
Access to basic education requires that sufficient and proper facilities and services are in place and that students can access adequate books and materials. When education institutions are targeted or attacked, the damage and its consequences can be major and far-reaching,” the report stated.
The report also observed that the declaration of a state of emergency in the northeast was also disrupting academic activities. It says that the restriction on vehicular movement in some areas means that students now resort to trekking to school no matter the distance of their schools from their homes.
It called on the Federal Government to assist the Borno Sstate government in rebuilding damaged schools and ensure that law enforcement was conducted in accordance with international laws.
Amnesty called on Boko Haram to “cease all unlawful killings, including targeted attacks on teachers, schoolchildren, and other human rights abuses against civilians and immediately stop all attacks on schools and other educational facilities.”