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African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Statement on the abduction of about 200 school children in Tagina, Niger State, Federal Republic of Nigeria


31 May 2021

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), through its Country Rapporteur for the Federal Republic of Nigeria Honourable Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, expresses its condemnation the violent abduction of school children in the town of Tagina in Niger State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 30 May 2021.  

From the reports reaching the African Commission, dozens of armed men ridding on motorcycles entered the town and opened fire indiscriminately attacking the Salihu Tanko Islamic School before abducting about 200 school children. This is at the very least the fifth incident of abduction and forced disappearance incident in 2021.

The African Commission expresses its deep concern about the rise in incidents of attacks on schools and the accompanying abduction of students from schools by non-state armed groups with dire consequences.

The African Commission reiterates its view that the attack and violent abduction of the students constitute serious breach of various rights and freedoms enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter), including the right to dignity, personal security, bodily integrity, freedom from torture or inhumane or degrading treatment, personal liberty, the right to education and the right to peace and security.   

The African Commission wishes to remind Nigeria, as a State Party to the African Charter, that the right to education under Article 17 of the African Charter covers safety of students at school and on their way to and from school as elaborated in the African Commission’s Guidelines and Principles on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The African Commission urges the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to work with all state and non-state actors and continue its efforts to ensure the release of the abducted students.

In ratifying the African Charter, States Parties assume the primary responsibility for taking all the necessary institutional, political, security and socio-economic measures to ensure the safety and security of their people from situations that threaten their life, physical and social security. In the light of the recurrence of attacks on schools in Northern and Central Nigeria, the African Commission calls on Nigeria to adopt all additional special measures to enhance the safety of schools in the affected regions.  

The African Commission also calls for independent and transparent national investigation into incidents of attacks on schools and the abduction of students in order both to identify the conditions that made the orchestration of such attack possible, to hold those responsible for the occurrence and perpetration of the abduction accountable and to institute corrective measures to prevent the recurrence of such attacks against schools in Nigeria.

The African Commission expresses its solidarity with the families of the abducted school children and the affected communities and support to the efforts of Government and people of Nigeria for securing the freedom of the abducted students and creating conditions to prevent the recurrence of the abduction and forced disappearance of students.


Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, PhD

Country Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights