Human Rights Watch says their schools have been destroyed by Boko Haram Islamic militants.
Over 5,000 school children in northern Nigeria are now at home after Boko Haram Islamic militants destroyed their schools in their campaign to impose Islamic Sharia law in the country. The Nation newspaper of Nigeria citing a Human Rights Watch, HRW, report released earlier this week, said since the beginning of 2012, at least 12 schools have been destroyed in the city of Maiduguri, capital of the north eastern Borno State, the heartland of the insurgency.
The group's Deputy Head, Children Rights Directorate, Zama Coursen-Neff, said Boko Haram attacks on schools represent a new and reprehensible development since the group began its campaign of violence in 2009. Between February 26 and 29, at least four schools were burned, and on March 1, five schools were set ablaze, including Sunshine Stars Secondary School and Success Secondary School, which had an enrollment of 700, the report says. All the attacks have occurred either at night or in the early morning hours.
Attacks on schools by armed groups, HRW warned, not only put children and teachers' lives at risk, but may also deprive children of an education. It noted that schools may close and children drop out entirely and even when classes resume after an attack, the quality of education may suffer with students and teachers afraid and learning material have been destroyed. The report notes that threats of attacks may also force neighbouring schools to close or parents to keep their children at home.
In a similar development, Nigeria's Tcabinet on Wednesday March 7, 2012 approved the White Paper by the presidential committee on security challenges in the country. The Guardian newspaper of Nigeria reported that the report that will be gazetted, recommends among others that government should negotiate with all armed groups in the country on the condition that they renounce use of violence as a means of achieving their objectives.
Meanwhile, sources in the State Security Service (SSS) say that arrested Boko Haram spokesman, Abu Qaqa and Kabiru Sokoto, the alleged mastermind of the deadly 2011 Christmas Day attack on a church near the capital, Abuja, have confirmed that the group's main aim is to Islamise the whole of Nigeria. According to THISDAY newspaper of Nigeria, the two men have been corroborating each other.