Statement on Recent School Attacks in Nigeria

April 15, 2015

It is time for the world to wake up to the dangers being faced by girls and boys who simply want to go to school in Nigeria. Earlier today, over 100 girls were abducted in an attack on a school in northeast Nigeria.  A few weeks ago, over 40 children were murdered in an attack on their school.

The abduction from the school in Chibok, Borno State, follows the bombings yesterday, which killed more than 70 people in the capital, Abuja.

The attacks are blamed on the same group, Boko Haram, whose name means, “Western education is forbidden.”

The threat to children who simply want an education has led to hundreds of deaths in the last three years.  Massacres of innocent boys and girls are not uncommon.  This year alone, the group’s fighters have killed more than 1,500 civilians, hundreds of them children, in three states in northeast Nigeria.  Boko Haram condemns what they say is a “Western-style education,” and its militants frequently target schools and educational institutions.

Approximately one dozen girls escaped last night’s attack. Running in the bush and wandering until daybreak, they returned to Chibok to find over 170 houses burnt down from the attack.

We will support the Nigerian government to ensure that violence against children is stopped and all Nigerian boys and girls have the right to go to school safely.

Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education