On February 26 this year, 59 of our sons were killed at the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi; and more than 35 at the Government Technical Science College, Potiskum on November 10, in Yobe State. Just after, on November 12, while we were still mourning our Yobe children, a female suicide bomber struck at the Federal College of Education in Niger State. These figures are not inclusive of the hundreds of children who have been killed since the wake of insurgency in Nigeria. Losing our children in such numbers and in this manner is cause for alarm and begs to question the efforts, if any, that are being put in place to ensure the security and safety of our schools and children.
These devastating attacks are coming at a critical time when verifiable reports have confirmed that millions of Nigerian children are out of school, with the numbers being highest in the North East. This further stresses the need to ensure the security and safety of our schools as a way of encouraging parents/guardians to ensure their children/wards embrace education.
Knowing the vigorous and incessant attacks agenda of the deadly ‘Boko Haram’ sect to deliberately bomb schools as soft targets among other strategic locations, it is expected that the relevant authorities would have ensured adequate measures are put in place to avoid such heinous occurrences.
Burying children, and in shattered body parts, is certainly not the wish of any parent. We, as citizens, cannot imagine losing our promising children to avoidable terrorist attacks on schools, killing those whose only offence is to have dared to embrace education in the face of insecurity. These boys are definitely our heroes.
To this end, therefore, we wish to demand that adequate safety and security measures be put in place to ensure the security of lives and properties, especially in the North East. No child should be made to choose between going to school and staying alive. Education is the right of every Nigerian child and that right must be protected.
While we commiserate with the families and friends of the Potiskum boys, including all of those who have lost children to insurgency, we do hope that such unfortunate incidences will cease.
Bukky Shonibare Olatunji Olanrewaju
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls Campaign Group