After the abduction of over 200 school girls from Chibok, Borno State, the federal government 2014 launched the Safe Schools Initiative to ensure that children in conflict areas or affected by insecurity continue their education unhindered.
To further solidify the commitment to secure schools, President Muhammadu Buhari, in December 2019, signed the Safe Schools Declaration ratification document.
Accordingly, the federal government had in December 2022 launched the N144.8 billion Safe Schools Financing Plan to protect schools from terrorist attacks across the nation.
The then minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, told me the plan would be implemented between 2023 and 2026.
She says that the project was developed through rigorous consultative strategic engagements with all relevant critical stakeholders in the education and security sectors at national and sub-national levels, such as the Federal Ministry of Education, Nigeria Police Force; Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC); Department of State Security (DSS); Defence Headquarters (Army, Navy and Air Force).
The minister says further that inputs were also received from the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory ministries of Education; Finance and Budget, development partners; donor agencies and civil society organisations on how best to ensure that children’s education was not disrupted by activities of terrorists and other criminals. However, lack of release of funds has hampered the commencement of the initiative.
Terrorism: IGP Launches School Protection Squad.
In February 2023, the federal government said it would ensure the prompt release of funds for financing the National Safe Schools Initiative to ensure that children can go to school without fear of kidnappings or abductions for ransom.
Then Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, tells me that the government is aware that the success of every one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) rests on a safe and secure environment which is why “We must therefore ensure that every child can learn in a safe environment where they can get the quality education they need to unlock their full potential and contribute to building a better Nigeria.”
As promised, the Nigeria Police Force launched the Schools Protection Squad (SPS), a Police formation dedicated to securing Nigerian schools.
Acting inspector-general of police, IGP Olukayode Egbetokun, announced the establishment of the Schools Protection Squad (SPS), a proactive initiative to enhance security and safety in educational institutions across Nigeria.
Force PRO, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi tells me the Schools Protection Squad is a specialised unit within the Nigeria Police Force tasked with drawing up policies and engaging relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety and protection of students, teachers and school infrastructure. The squad will be equipped with relevant assets and advanced training to effectively respond to educational institutions’ security challenges.
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