NHRC Laments no Strategies to Free Kidnapped School Children

- Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has lamented what it claimed “no strategies in sight” for safe return of kidnapped school children in parts of the country.

The Commission stated this while expressing deep concern over rising cases of kidnapping of school children in different parts of the country particular­ly in the Northern part where a staggering number of this vulnerable group had been forcefully whisked away to unknown destinatio­ns.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu expressed this concern yesterday in a statement issued in reaction to recently released UNICEF statistics showing that 950 children had been kidnapped from December 2020 to date.

He noted that the figure was an indication that a lot of things had gone wrong with the security system which was supposed to take proactive and drastic measures to curb the festering criminalit­ies including child kidnapping­s.

Accordingl­y, Ojukwu lamented over the recent kidnapping­s of scores of children in an Islamic school in Niger State, the more recent abduction of many students at a Baptist School in Kaduna as well as kidnapping of new born babies and medical personnel in a hospital in same state.

He said: “Children are a heritage from God, the government in collaborat­ion with other stakeholde­rs ought to rise up to the occasion to protect them by giving a marching order to all the relevant security agencies to explore all available intelligen­ce and strategies to ensure that kidnapping is halted in Nigeria and all the children in the kidnap den are rescued and given psychosoci­al support before reuniting them with their families.”

He decried that if this trend was left unchecked, there would be worsen the already poor school enrollment in Northern Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary used the opportunit­y to reiterate the need for the domesticat­ion of the Child’s Rights Act 2003 in the remaining 11 out of the 36 states of the federation, saying that “the domesticat­ion and subsequent implementa­tion of the Act hold the key to effective child rights protection.”

The NHRC scribe therefore called on the affected states in Nigeria to liaise with the relevant stakeholde­rs, including Civil Society Organisati­ons (CSOs) to push for a speedy domesticat­ion of the Child’s Rights Act in order to forestall further violations of the rights of children under their jurisdicti­on.

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