The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, has strongly condemned the incessant attacks on schools and kidnappings that have affected hundreds of children in a number of states in Nigeria.
In his statement on the 2021 International Day to Protect Education from Attack, commemorated every September 9, Kallon noted that attacks on schools are a direct attack on the future generation, adding that it is traumatic for the children, undermines their individual dignity, and sometimes leads affected families to withdraw them from education entirely.
He expressed displeasure over the attacks, calling on the Federal and State Governments to do more to protect schools from attack and to ensure that teaching and learning is safe and conducive in all schools in Nigeria.
The Resident Coordinator observed that whenever teaching and learning is disrupted, the impact on human capital development is enormous as the recovery period is always tortuous and longer than the length of the initial disruption.
According to him, Nigeria cannot afford to leave the situation of incessant attacks on schools to remain unabated. “Children are traumatized; parents are scared; teachers and school administrators are afraid; attacks on schools are gradually spreading to areas not known to insurgencies. With education under attack, the collective future of Nigeria is under threat. This must stop now.”
He encouraged the government to review progress made in implementing safe schools under the declaration and fully put into practice commitments made in 2019 by taking decisive action to protect education from attack and give “this great nation’s children the chance to fulfill their promise.”
Kallon explained that too often, the right to education fell under attack, especially in conflict-affected areas, where entire populations could be denied learning.
He said further, “With over 10 million children already out of school, conflict has aggravated the situation and deeply affected education and the prospects of many young people, especially it’s most vulnerable ones. In the last academic year, it is estimated that 1.3 million children have been impacted by attacks or abductions at schools in Nigeria.”
The statement remarked that across the north-east region alone, over 600,000 children remain out of school and some 1.1 million need educational support to stay in school. This has all been compounded by the setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the statement, “UN Agency for children, UNICEF has been working hard to expand the availability of classrooms and teachers in Nigeria’s most conflict-affected regions. Furthermore, the Agency has been supporting the Government of Nigeria in its efforts to implement the Safe Schools Declaration which was ratified in 2019. Over the past five years, according to UNESCO, there have been 13,400 reports of attacks on education facilities worldwide with more than 22,000 students and teachers harmed or killed.
“The International Day to Protect Education from Attack is aimed at raising awareness of the plight of children in conflict-affected areas growing up without access to education. Education is a fundamental human right, one that is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is an essential driver for fostering peace, promoting just societies, and supporting sustainable development.”
14-year-old boy arrested in parents’ deaths, tried to kill sister, sheriff says
A 14-year-old boy was in custody Friday after allegedly killing his parents and trying to kill his 11-year-old sister in their Fresno County, California home, authorities said.
Deputies were dispatched to the residence in the community of Miramonte on Wednesday night on a 911 call reporting a break-in and attack, Sheriff John Zanoni said at a news conference Friday.
Deputies found the parents dead and the sister injured. A 7-year-old sibling was uninjured, and was in the care of relatives, Zanoni said.
The teenage boy told deputies someone broke in attacked family members before fleeing in a pickup, but detectives discovered inconsistencies in his story, and he was ultimately taken into custody, the sheriff said.
Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni during the news conference.
Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni at a news conference Friday.Fresno County Sheriff’s Office / via Facebook
“He fabricated the story of the break-in,” Zanoni said.
The teen sustained a few scratches, he said, but there was no indication he had self-inflicted injuries.
The parents were identified as father Lue Yang and mother Se Vang, both 37. The cause and manor of death were still pending, a sheriff’s spokesperson said.
The sister had severe injuries and was expected to survive after receiving trauma care, Zanoni said.
Authorities were still cataloging weapons and were not prepared to say exactly what was used in the attacks, the sheriff said, adding that some of the multiple weapons used in the violence were not uncommon in rural areas.
Miramonte is in the Sierra Nevada mountains, about 40 miles west of Mount Whitney.
Miramonte sign by a road at night.
Deputies were dispatched to the residence in the community of Miramonte. Fresno County Sheriff’s Office / via Facebook
The motive has not been determined, Zanoni said. Deputies had not made previous visits to the household.
It wasn’t clear if charges had been formally filed or if the suspect has retained counsel in the case. The Fresno County public defender’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The teen was being held in a juvenile facility on allegations of murder and attempted murder, the sheriff said.
“It is extremely tragic,” he said.
Burundi’s President Calls for Stoning of Gay Couples
Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye recently launched a virulent tirade against same-sex marriage, denouncing it as an « abominable practice » and advocating for the stoning of gay couples, citing religious reasons.
The President, known for his conservative Christian views, previously called for homosexuals to be « banished » and treated as outcasts. He criticized Western countries opposing LGBTQ+ rights and defiantly rejected aid from those advocating such practices, urging individuals embracing those beliefs to stay abroad.
This strong stance is in line with the conservative Christian values prevalent in the Great Lakes country, where same-sex relations are punishable by imprisonment.
This statement comes in reaction as the global discourse on LGBTQ+ rights has seen some notable developments, such as Pope Francis’ declaration on December 18th regarding the blessing of homosexual couples.
While this marks a symbolic shift in the Catholic Church’s stance, it’s essential to note that the Church maintains a clear distinction between homosexual and heterosexual marriages.
The Vatican’s doctrine of the « one true marriage » underscores its position that while marriage for all is tolerated, it is not yet fully accepted within the Catholic religion.
However, implementing such changes globally is a complex endeavour. Despite the Vatican’s guidance, the ability to enforce a shift in mentality and impose measures across all Catholic communities proves challenging.
Several African churches have already signalled their resistance to these advances. For instance, the bishops of Cameroon explicitly rejected any change, stating, « We formally prohibit all blessings of homosexual couples. » Similarly, Togo has expressed openness to individuals in same-sex relationships but encourages priests to refrain from blessing such couples.
This dynamic reflects the ongoing struggle within the Catholic Church to reconcile differing perspectives on LGBTQ+ issues, illustrating the tension between global doctrinal shifts and the autonomy of individual religious communities, particularly in conservative regions like Africa.
Ivory Coast will deliver 50 million liters of gasoline monthly to Guinea
Ivory Coast will deliver 50 million liters of gasoline per month to Guinea, following the explosion and fire at the country’s main fuel depot, Ivorian national television announced Wednesday evening.
“Côte d’Ivoire is committed to delivering 50 million liters of gasoline per month to Guinea,” said a journalist from Radiotélévision Ivoirienne (RTI), without specifying the duration of this aid.
“The practical terms of the contract and the security of the convoys will be signed this Thursday,” said another journalist from the channel, specifying that Guinea had a monthly need of 70 million liters of gasoline.
The Guinean Minister of the Economy, Moussa Cissé, met on Wednesday in Abidjan with the Ivorian Minister of Mines, Oil and Energy, Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly.
Saturday, five days after the explosion and fire in Conakry of the country’s main fuel depot which left 24 dead and 454 injured, according to a new report, the Guinean government announced the resumption of gasoline distribution, in rationing it.
Twenty-five liters per vehicle and five liters per motorcycle and tricycle were authorized, with the use of cans prohibited.
The population was deprived of gasoline throughout the territory since the explosion and fire, leading to the paralysis of a large part of the economy.
Demonstrations in several localities last week sometimes turned into clashes between groups of young people demanding the return of gasoline to service stations and the security forces.
Furthermore, the Guinean government announced Wednesday that the fire at the fuel depot was « completely extinguished », in a press release sent to AFP.
In total, more than 11,000 people were directly affected by the fire.