Nigeria: Statement From Unicef Nigeria Representative Peter Hawkins On the Release of Abducted Schoolgirls in Jangebe, Zamfara State, Nigeria

Abuja — "We are relieved at the news of the reported release of over 200 students of the Government Girls' Secondary School Jangebe in Zamfara State, north-west Nigeria, who were kidnapped during an overnight attack at their school in the early hours of the morning on Friday 26 February.

"While we rejoice at the release of the schoolgirls and look forward to their safe return to their families, we reiterate that attacks on students and schools are not only reprehensible but a violation of the right of children to an education. It is a right that any society can ill-afford to violate.

"UNICEF calls on the Government of Nigeria to take all measures to protect schools in the country so that children will not be fearful of going to school, and parents afraid of sending their children to school.

"Schools must be safe places to study and develop, and learning should not become a risky endeavour.

"UNICEF will be providing psychosocial support to the girls and their families and working with the Ministry of Education on how to ensure the safe return to school of all children in Zamfara State."

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