Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP has urged Mr Karim A. A. Khan, QC, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court to investigate the unceasing cases of abduction of students in Northern Nigeria and declare the abductions, closure of schools, and the failure by the Nigerian government to provide safe and enabling learning environments as crimes against humanity.
SERAP made the call in a petition to the ICC, following frequent abductions and closure of schools in that part of Nigeria, including the recent closure of schools in Zamfara State after scores of students were abducted by armed bandits from a state-run high school in Maradun district.
In the petition dated 4 September 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “Depriving children their right to education has severe consequences for their ability to access their fundamental rights. The severe and lifelong harms that result from depriving children the right to education satisfy the gravity of harm threshold under the Rome Statute.”
It added, “Investigating and declaring cases of abduction of Nigerian students and closure of schools, and the failure by the Nigerian authorities to provide safe and enabling learning environments as crimes against humanity would help to combat impunity, deter future human rights abuses, and improve access of the children to education.
“Persistent and discriminatory denial of education to girls is a crime against humanity. Repeated abductions, the absence of safe and enabling learning environments, and the resulting closure of schools give rise to individual criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute.”