MORE than two million girls, boys and caregivers are in need of psycho-social support services due to severe distress, hardship and displacement in North East Nigeria.
A new report by the Save the Children, ” Families Torn Apart: Protecting and Caring for Children Separated from their families by the conflict in North East Nigeria,” indicated that 770,000 children and care givers remain at risk of injury and loss of life from explosive remnants of war.
The report, one of the three unveiled in Abuja on Tuesday by Save the Children to mark its centenary anniversary quoted Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) as saying that there were 2.2million school-aged children and teachers in the North East who need immediate education emergency support.
Noting that education is a key concern in the conflict of North East, the report revealed that 867 schools primarily in Borno State are still non-functional mainly due to inaccessibility as a result of insecurity.
“The conflict has exposed children to different forms of violence making them vulnerable to abuse, violence, neglect, and exploitation,” it said.
“Violence continues to cause death, injury, forced displacement, abduction and conflict related psychological distress.”
Save the Children in the report said child protection concerns for unaccompanied and separated children in Borno State are vast, noting that the government, UN agencies and local as well as international humanitarian aid organisations are having to work in extremely difficult circumstances to address these concerns.
Benjamin Foot, Save the Children International, Nigeria Country Director, said the organisation would continue to fight for children every single day.
“We will do whatever it takes to make sure they survive, get protection when they are in danger and have the chance to learn because every child should be able to make their mark on their world and help to build better future for us all.”
Foot urged all actors to “renew their commitment and join forces to fight to create a conducive environment for children to learn, be protected and grow up healthy.”
He explained that this can be a reality when proper policies and strategies are in place and are coasted at the national and sub-national level and when families and communities start to treat boys and girls equally.
This, Foot also said would be a reality, when CSO, CBOs, government, and development partners are better coordinated and collaborated to accelerate change for children.
He said the Save the Children welcomed the bold step by the Nigerian government in ratifying the Safe School Declaration that will be instrumental to ensuring that the schools will be safe zones for children to study.
“We hope that a national policy to guide the implementation of the declaration will be in place soon,” Foot said.
Save the Children launched Global Childhood report and Stop the War on Children (SWOC) Flagship report at the event.