3 m children need emergency education support- UNICEF

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From Gideon Arinze and Odigbo Chidinma

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that 3 million children need emergency education support following the crisis caused by Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.

The report also revealed that the rise in Boko Haram activities in the northeast means that over 57 percent of schools are closed even as the new school year begins.

According to the report which was contained in a press release, over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 have been displaced with almost 1,400 schools destroyed with the majority unable to open because of extensive damage.

Speaking at the end of a three-day visit to Maiduguri which is the epicentre of the crisis in the northeast, the Deputy Executive Director of Unicef, Justine Forsyth said that children in the northeast Nigeria are living through so much horror.

According to him, nearly 1 million children have been displaced by the crisis and 450,000 children under the age of five are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year.

“In addition to devastating malnutrition, violence and an outbreak of cholera, the attacks on schools is in danger of creating a lost generation of children, threatening their and the countries’ future” he said.

He also regretted the use of children as human bombs which according top him has sown a climate of mistrust among communities in the northeast while also adding that a cholera outbreak has affected more than 3,900 people, including over 2450 children.

He however noted that some children living in camps for the displaced in Borno state such as the Muna Garage camp in the outskirts of Maiduguri are benefiting from education for the first time in their lives.

According to him, UNICEF is working with partners to rehabilitate schools and classrooms and training teachers to build a stronger education system for the future.

“In the three most affected states of northeast Nigeria, UNICEF and partners have enrolled nearly 750,000 children in school this year, establishing over 350 temporary learning spaces and distributing almost 94,000 packs of learning materials that will help children to get an education” he said.

UNICEF is committed to its mission of promoting the equal rights of children and supporting their full participation in the political, social and economic development of their communities.
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