Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, has expressed concern over the incessant abduction of schoolchildren in Nigeria.
While speaking during a telephonic conference on how the U.S. plans to mitigate conflict and enhance peace in Nigeria, Ms Thomas-Greenfield explained, “I was reminded today that when I was asked early in my tenure what keeps me awake at night, and on that day that I was asked that question, Nigerian children had been kidnapped from a school.”
Nigeria has a history of schoolchildren kidnapping by violent armed groups, including Boko Haram, bandits, and unknown gunmen.
Recently, hundreds of schoolchildren have been kidnapped in the northern part of the country like Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, among others.
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“And again, that is something that continues to happen in Nigeria. It’s something that we all have to work to address. We have to hold people accountable and really have them punished for those kinds of acts.”
The U.S. ambassador to the UN also disclosed the U.S. efforts in training and equipping Nigeria’s law enforcement officers, noting that the American government does not hesitate to call out President Muhammadu Buhari’s government out when human rights violations are committed.
The American envoy explained, “We have called the government out when we have seen violations being committed, but we also, at the same time, try to provide assistance and train and equip law enforcement and other professionals to address some of these issues and to address shortcomings that they may have.”
She further expressed the American government’s determination to protect Nigeria’s schoolchildren.
“And so as part of our work with Nigerian security services,” added Ms Thomas-Greenfield, “it’s also to help them be more effective and efficient in providing that kind of support and security for all Nigerians, but particularly for young children and young girls who are trying to get educated.”