The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has condemned the killing of Hayatu Hashimu, who was a 6-years-old pupil of Salihu Tanko Islamiya School Tegina in Niger State, by bandits in their den.
Recall that Naija News had earlier reported the release of 91 students of the Islamiya school who were abducted by bandits three months ago.
However, Hashimu did not return because he was said to have died in captivity.
Reacting to the development in a statement issued in Abuja, the UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, described the boy’s death as ”utterly unacceptable”.
He said, “Children who went in search of knowledge were abducted at their school – which is supposed to be a safe place for them – while exercising their fundamental right to an education.
“They spent 88 days in the hands of their abductors before being freed yesterday. It is a tragedy and utterly unacceptable that one of these children died in captivity.
“We rejoice with the families whose children have been freed – and express our deepest condolences to little Hayatu’s family, who have just suffered the worst loss on top of the tragedy they have gone through for the last 88 days.
“No family should lose a child just because it took the right decision to send that child to school. Schools should not be a target. Children should not be a target. Education is a fundamental right of every child and any attack on an educational institution is a violation of that right.”
Hawkins however called on the Nigerian authorities take necessary measures to ensure the safety of schools for all children.
UNICEF also promised to work with partners to provide mental health, psychosocial support and counselling services to both the freed Niger school children and their parents.