Girls’ schools have been closed in Northern Nigeria due to insecurity. In the face of insecurity, $500 million means nothing to the development of Nigerian girl education. The World Bank should use $500 million facility for Nigerian girl education to provide security for schools that are be attacked by terrorists in Nigeria. $500 million Nigerian girl education will be meaningless if terrorists continue to attack schools, abduct and kidnap school children. How will girls attend schools in an unsecure environment? How can we talk about Nigerian girl education when schools in Abuja are closed? We cannot talk about girl child education when over 11,000 schools are closed in the north.

The spate at which schools across the country are exposed to diverse man-made and natural disasters, especially kidnapping, sexual harassment, substance abuse, and sundry violence lends credence to the fact that a lot needs to be done to keep learners safe, and insulate them from dangerous mishaps, including death.

Sadly, while the Federal Government is still battling unsuccessfully to end the era of terrorists and sundry outlaws strolling into schools to either kill, or shepherd away hundreds of students in a manner that questions the country’s security strategies, and the capacity of our intelligence agencies, kidnappers are still devising means and ways of sustaining their heinous trade.

The federal government should work out modalities how much $500 million will provide enhanced security for Nigerian girl education. $500 million can provide basic security in schools across the country. The country has witnessed alarming rate of mass abductions in schools.

Some months ago, over 200 children of an Islamiya School were kidnapped in Niger State. The mass abduction of students and teachers in schools points to a troubling security situation in the country. The weak security setup in those schools could be blamed for situation.

Since December 2020, hundreds of teachers, students and pupils have been abducted from schools across the country, further highlighting a troubling development. The abduction of nearly 300 students from Government Girls Science Secondary School, Jangegbe in Zamfara State on 26 February 2021 and 27 boys and their teachers from a school in Kagara, Niger State which happened in the space of 10 days point to a troubling situation. The weak or non-existent security infrastructure in most schools across the country leaves the children vulnerable to attacks and other negative influences, hence the need to provide primary resistance against intruders, and protect the school facilities.

More than 11, 536 schools have been closed since December 2020 due to abductions and security issues in Northern Nigeria, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed. The UN agency said the school closures have impacted the education of approximately 1.3 million children in the 2020/21 academic year.

The World Bank Board of Directors has approved $500 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE). The project’s goal is to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas.29 Jul 2020. The bank said this in a statement on titled ‘Nigeria to boost support for keeping adolescent girls in school’. It stated that adolescent girls face many constraints in accessing and completing secondary education. In northern Nigeria, it added, the lack of secondary schools was significantly greater with up to 10 primary schools for every secondary school. It stated, “Poor condition of infrastructure and a lack of water sanitation and hygiene facilities makes it difficult for girls to stay in school.

“In addition, close to 80 per cent of poor households are in the North, which makes it very challenging for them to cover the direct and indirect costs of schooling.
24 states get N43.4bn World Bank grant for transparency. “All these factors have contributed towards limiting the number of girls that have access to secondary school.

If nothing is done, 1.3 million girls out of the 1.85 million who began primary school in 2017/2018 in the northern states will drop out before reaching the last year of junior secondary school.” The World Bank said the project would support access to secondary education and empowerment for adolescent girls in seven states which are Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Plateau and Ekiti. Specifically, the project would benefit about 6.7 million adolescents and 15.5 million direct project beneficiaries would include families and communities in participating states.
AT least seven states in northern Nigeria have shut schools due to the rise in abductions and banditry in the last two months. According to experts, the development may worsen the number of out of school children in Nigeria which UNICEF puts at 10.5 million. This is apart from the school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The seven states are Yobe, Zamfara, Niger, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa and Sokoto.

According to figures collated from several reports, at least 768 students have been abducted by bandits within the space of 78 days. The breakdown of the figure include 344 schoolchildren of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katisna on December 11, 2020; 80 pupils of Islamiyya School, Mahuta, Katsina on December 20, 2020; 27 boys at GSS College, Kangara, Niger State on February 17, 2021; and 317 schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State, last Thursday who are still in captivity.

Apart from the recent abductions, 112 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok, Borno State in 2014 are still in Boko Haram captivity as well as one pupil from Dapchi, Yobe State, Leah Sharibu.

Reports collated showed that Zamfara is the most affected with all its boarding schools shut till further notice. The Governor, Bello Matawalle, had in response to the abductions ordered the closure of all schools. Recently Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State ordered that 10 schools located on the outskirts of the state be shut. In 24 hours, Ganduje extended the order to five health training institutions in the state. In Yobe State the state government ordered boarding school students to go home amidst fear of a Boko Haram attack, exempting only SS3 students.

I want to appeal to World Bank to spend $500 million Nigerian girl education to beef up security in Nigeria schools for safety of our students.

Inwalomhe Donald writes from Abuja via [email protected]