Nigeria: Attacks on schools undermine right to education

Responding to the abduction of 42 persons by gunmen at the Government Science College Kagara Niger state Nigeria, in the early hours of today, Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said: 

“We condemn this appalling attack, which is the latest in a string of attacks on schools in northern Nigeria. Attacks on schools and abductions of children are war crimes. Those found to be responsible of the abduction must be brought to justice for these and other human rights abuses.    

“That this is coming only about three months after a similar incident at a school in Kankara, Katsina state, shows that authorities are not doing enough to protect lives. The children abducted are in serious risk of being harmed. Nigerian authorities must take all measures to return them to safety, along with all children currently under the custody of armed groups.” 

Education is under attack in northern Nigeria. Schools should be places of safety, and no child should have to choose between their education and their life. Other children have had to abandon their education after being displaced by frequent violent attacks on their communities, and many teachers have been forced to flee to other states. The Nigerian authorities must act immediately to prevent attacks on schools, to protect children’s lives and their right to education.

Osai Ojigho

“The protection of children’s lives is paramount, and the Nigerian government has a duty to ensure that the country’s educational sector is not further threatened by armed groups on rampage across northern Nigeria.” 

“The attack on Government Science College Kagara is a serious violation of international humanitarian law, and it undermines the right to education for thousands of children in northern Nigeria.The abduction of studentsby armed groups can severely reduce the availability of and access to education for many children in northern Nigeria where violent attacks are escalating.”  


In the early hours of 17 February 2021 gunmen abducted 42 persons at Government Science College Kagara Niger state central Nigeria. Authorities confirmed that 27 of those abducted are students, 3 are staff of the college and 13 members of the families of the staff kidnapped. One student was shot dead by the abductors. 

Amnesty International has been documenting Boko Haram’s atrocities and targeting of schools since 2012: In May 2020, Amnesty International also published a report on the dire impact of the conflict in Northeast Nigeria on children.