Unicef reports that Boko Haram has kept more than one million children out of school, as more than 2,000 schools in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger have closed, and hundreds of others have been attacked by the militant Islamist group. While some schools have been able to reopen, many of them are overcrowded and lack the necessary educational supplies. The lack of education is likely to fuel further radicalism, because “the longer they stay out of school, the greater the risks of being abused, abducted and recruited by armed groups,” the UN’s children agency warns.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has tasked his military with ending the insurgency by the end of the year, but even if they succeed, the long-term consequences are devastating, as the jihadists have destroyed much of the infrastructure in the northeast of the country with their incessant bombings and raids. “There was already a problem with getting kids to school on a regular basis that simply became worse once Boko Haram emerged,” Yan St-Pierre, terrorism analyst at Modern Security Consulting Group, told The Guardian. “In so-called liberated areas it’s been difficult to restore functioning infrastructure. 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.”
Boko Haram, which translates to “Western education is sinful”, has been targeting schools and teachers as part of their terror campaign — most tragically in Chibok on 14 April, 2014, where they seized 276 schoolgirls. The abduction brought the horrors of Boko Haram to global attention, and spawned the international #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
Read the full story at the Guardian.
Watch the interview with Bring Back Our Girls founder Obi Ezekwesili at WITW India.