News / Africa

Amnesty Says 'Education Under Attack' in Northern Nigeria

School pupils play in Maiduguri Experimental School, a private nursery, primary and secondary school burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram to keep children away from school in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, May 12, 2012.
School pupils play in Maiduguri Experimental School, a private nursery, primary and secondary school burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram to keep children away from school in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, May 12, 2012.
Heather Murdock
Amnesty International says "education is under attack'" in northern Nigeria with as many as 70 teachers and more than 100 students killed since the beginning of 2012. 

In the past, when schools were attacked in northern Nigeria, they were attacked at night, burnt to the ground while students and teachers were in their homes.

But nowadays, when insurgents attack schools, they often do it in broad daylight, slaughtering teachers and students before destroying buildings, says Amnesty International’s Makmid Kamara.

“It has become more brutal because teachers are being specifically targeted and students -- school children and students - are also being targeted and killed,” said Kamara.

School attacks are usually blamed on Boko Haram, a militant group that is believed to be responsible for thousands of deaths since it began violent operations in 2009.  The group said it wanted to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria and called itself “The People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad” in Arabic.

However, they are better known by the nickname, Boko Haram, which means “Western education is a sin.”

In May, the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in much of northeastern Nigeria and sent thousands of troops to fight Boko Haram.  And while the military regularly reported success in battle, attacks on schools continued and Amnesty said the government was not doing enough to stop it.

“The Nigerian government has a duty and a responsibility to prevent these attacks by taking lawful and effective measures and we think those who are responsible should be held to account,” said Kamara.

Kamara said suspected Boko Haram members were also known to intimidate teachers by standing outside of classrooms heavily armed. 

Last Sunday, more than 40 students were killed by gunmen in their dormitory in Yobe state, not far from a secondary school where nearly 30 students were killed in July.

Some parents said they were terrified to send their children to school.  Abdullahi Bego, the spokesperson for Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said the military should increase security around schools, to ensure children can be educated.

"So there is a concern across the board, shared by the government and by the people of the state, but that does mean that parents are not going to allow students to go to school?  Because if we do that, it means we are giving in to these criminals and terrorists who want to stop our children from getting an education," he said.

In parts of northern Nigeria, Amnesty said, as many as 80 percent of the students have stopped attending classes and more than a thousand teachers have fled the region.  Students, they said, now hide their books and uniforms, while parents were warned by gunmen to only send their children to Islamic schools.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid