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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid