Insecurity hampering girls’ education in Zamfara
The wave of bloody attacks on Zamfara communities by bandits and cattle rustlers is weighing heavily on the education of girls in the affected communities.
The violent attacks which have shut down some schools, have forced many young children of school age to relocate to safer communities along with their parents, leaving many girls out of school.
Partners implementing the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNUICEF, Girls for Girls, G4G, initiative in Zamfara state, have established that due to the frequency of the attacks, some girls do not attend school regularly.
While highlighting the seriousness of the challenge, the Executive Director, Life Helpers Initiative, Mr. Tayo Fatinikun, said in the course of implementing the programme, their counsellors were unable to safely access some communities for mentoring.
Fatinikun noted that the situation rather forced a change of approach on their part where they had to always invite persons assigned to mentor girls from the affected communities to safer locations; even as he called on the Nigerian Government to restore peace in the communities and provide security for schools.
Meanwhile, at Tudun Wada Primary School in Talata Mafara, Zamfara State, the Headmaster, Malam Salisu Sule, told reporters that the primary school which was established since 1979 was witnessing a surge in population because of many students who were relocating from other communities as a result of violent attacks.
Hitherto, the primary school had only two blocks of 6 classrooms. With a population of 650 pupils and a high possibility of rising further, Sule called on the Government, the private sector and well-meaning individuals to provide more facilities for the school to cope with this new challenge.
Sule said however, that girls’ retention level in the school was now on the rise as a result of the introduction of the Girls for Girls initiative which is aimed at encouraging girls to enrol and stay in school, complete and transit to secondary school.
But the headmaster also noted that while some are finding new schools to attend in other communities, the violence has discouraged many from going to school.
Recall that only last week, over 30 people were killed when gunmen on motorcycles invaded five closely linked villages in the Maradun district of the state, firing indiscriminately and stealing livestock.
Distraught by incessant killings, the Governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari, in April publicly resigned his role as the chief security officer of the state, citing constitutional margins disallowing him to take any significant step in the face of gruesome killings of his countrymen.
UNICEF is implementing its G4G initiative in 100 schools located in 6 Local Government Areas of Zamfara namely: Anka, Talata Mafara, Shinkafi, Kaura Namoda, Bugudu and Tsafe, with about 4,399 girls already enrolled in the programme.