Teachers and students continue to be killed in education premises in Nigeria. EI deplores the brutal attacks targeting civilians, teachers, and government workers and asked the Nigerian Government to step up action to restore the right to education throughout the country by ensuring secure and safe schools for teaching and learning.
EI mobilised its affiliate in the global social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls about the 223 schoolgirls abducted by the terrorist sect Boko Haram in Chibok in Borno state of Nigeria on 14 April and in advocating with the Nigerian authorities for safe learning environment. EI pledged support for the Safe Schools Initiative - a UN fund set up to pilot 500 safe schools in northern Nigeria. This initiative will help governments develop special programs to protect students and teachers.
EI addressed letters to the ILO and UNESCO to urge them to take immediate and effective action with respect to the attacks on schools.
In addition to the abducted girls, EI also took action on behalf of the teachers being killed in Nigeria. The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) provided EI with a list of 171 teachers who had been assassinated by Boko Haram in the state of Borno since the beginning of the insurgency in 2009. On 25 February, between 29 and 59 school boys had been killed at their boarding school in Northern Nigeria. On 13 May, EI issued an Urgent Action Appeal encouraging its affiliates to: call upon the Nigerian authorities to ensure the protection of teachers, students, schools, and the entire education system in Nigeria; increase efforts to bring the abducted girls all other abducted civilians, back to their families and ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice; increase the percentage of GDP spent on education to meet the target of 6% as recommended by the United Nations. At least 25 affiliates provided a copy of their letter. The AFT Executive Council adopted a resolution urging the Obama administration "to be relentless in engaging the government of Nigeria … to uphold its obligations as a developing democracy that respects the human rights of all its citizens, guarantees the rule of law, and ensures the security and protection of its people."
EI and NUT also met in Lagos with the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, about ways to secure the right to a safe education and about Nigeria being one of the 10 countries in the world where the lowest EFA achievement with 10 million children having no education. Mr. Brown said he would raise the issue of the killing of teachers with the president of Nigeria.
Fred van Leeuwen co-signed with Obong Ikpe, Chair of NUT Nigeria, an Op-Ed in Monde entitled “Le Nigeria doit enfin protéger ses écoles contre Boko Haram” on 16 May 2014.
EI has also expressed its support for teacher strike actions in various states in Nigeria. Teachers in Benue State have gone back to work after an eight-month strike – started in October 2013 – in the struggle for the implementation of a minimum wage, as agreed with the Government in 2013. Teachers in the Kogi State went on strike in July, as some had not been paid at all for months.
There have been several deadly attacks affecting teachers and students in Northern Nigeria in late 2014-early 2015.