By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government has again called on abductors of Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu and other kidnapped students to release them.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, made the call in a statement to commemorate the first International Day for the Protection of Education on Wednesday in Abuja.
He described the abducted students and teachers as innocent casualties of armed insurgency.
The statement signed by Ben Goong, Director of Press at the Ministry of Education, said Adamu described the abduction of students and teachers at places of learning as a big infringement on their rights.
The minister said the Nigeria government is committed and believes in the protection of schools and learning centres across the country from violence and all forms of attacks.
While acknowledging that schools in different locations in the country had over the years been subjects of attacks by parties in conflicts and communal clashes especially Boko Haram, bandits, thugs and unknown individuals, Adamu said there is need for all stakeholders to appreciate and observe the sanctity of learning centres.
The minister said Nigeria is committed to observing all existing international protocols on education and freedom of learning as well as child rights to quality education in a protective environment.
Calling attention to the fact that Nigeria is signatory to most of the existing global and continental instruments on education and child rights, Adamu recalled that the country has domesticated most of the instruments at the national level and integrated some others into our national laws and policies.
“As a nation, we are committed to observing all relevant international conventions for the protection of schools and learning centres and facilities from attack.
“We recognize the interdependencies of several conventions, treaties and other instruments that would make this possible,” the statement quoted the minister to have said.
He also called on communities to take ownership of the protection of schools in their environments as they remain the first point of contact with the school as well as first-line responders in the event of attack.
While calling on security agencies to further make more commitments and efforts at ensuring safety of schools, Adamu praised the sacrifices of students, teachers and non-teaching staff who have fallen victims to violent attacks describing them as fallen heroes.