Approximately 800,000 children were displaced by Boko Haram uprising in northeast Nigeria, a new UNICEF report stated.
The report released on April 13 elaborated on statistics previously reported by the media on the situation in Nigeria because of Boko Haram violence.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden”, is an Islamist terrorist movement based in northeast Nigeria. The group is led by Abubakar Shekau and its members are estimated to be 7,000 to 10,000. The group was initially linked to Al-Qaeda, but in 2014, they expressed support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, finalizing their alliance in a pledge last March 2015.
According to UNICEF, there are four things that the world needs to know about the crisis in Nigeria:
There are 800,000 displaced children in Nigeria, not only 276 school girls
There were more than 276 abductions since 2009. But because of Boko Haram violence, over 800,000 children have been displaced from their homes, in hope of escaping the catastrophe caused by Boko Haram. They are missing out on education, access to health care, friends, family, and a normal childhood.
This is not exclusive to Nigeria alone
Because of the displacement of over 800,000 and their families, they are moving to the poorest areas of some of the poorest countries in the world. Children and families are moving within Nigeria and beyond Nigeria’s borders – to Chad, Cameroon and Niger. Refugees are flooded in these areas. Next issue to increase would be poverty and the spread of deadly diseases like Ebola.
Children are terrified, having witnessed the unspeakable
Children have suffered abuse, experienced or witnessed unimaginable violence, even saw their family member killed. Children who were abducted were trained to become killers, boys were recruited to become soldiers, and girls were forced into marriage while some were raped. Their trauma can be seen in the drawings of rescued children.
10 million Nigerian children are missing school
Because of the chaos in Nigeria, 1,100 schools have been disrupted, closed or destroyed, with almost 200 teachers killed in northeastern Nigeria alone. With this, almost 10.5 million children in Nigeria are missing school, the highest in the world.
UNICEF has offices in northeastern Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon, offering clean water, health services, malnutrition treatment, emotional support and emergency education to children and families displaced by Boko Haram violence.