Govs donate facilities to safe school centres

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To forestall attacks and kidnappings in schools, state governors have begun donating facilities and offices to kick-start the establishment of the Safe School Response Coordination centres.

The Commander of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Hammed Abodunrin, who spoke to Saturday According on Friday also stated that many state governments have set up Safe School Committees to establish and sustain working centres.

The Safe School Response is an initiative of the Federal Government in response to increasing cases of attacks on schools by bandits.

The National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre was established by the Federal Government in February 23, 2023 and saddled with the responsibility of coordinating safety and security responses against violence in schools and host communities.

On March 6, at least 287 pupils were reportedly kidnapped when terrorists on motorcycles stormed their school at Kuriga, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, whisking them away in an operation that drew condemnation and outrage from the Presidency and the global community, including the UN children’s welfare agency, UNICEF.

On March 15, the Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu, called on state governors to establish Safe School Response Coordination Centres to address kidnapping of students.

On March 24, the Kaduna State Government announced the release of the 137 school children kidnapped from Kuriga.

A statement issued by the Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, said 137 pupils were rescued through a joint effort of the military and local authorities in Zamfara State in the early hours of Sunday.

Giving updates on the steps taken by the government to prevent recurrence, Abodunrin said, “States are expected to provide state centres for effective coordination. Some states have donated accommodation facilities while others have included Safe School project in their 2024 budgets.

“The Ministry of Education has just written letters to all governors emphasising the need to provide such centres as stated in the National Plan’s medium term arrangements.

“Many of the states have also started forming Safe School committees to accelerate the steering the programme.”

The Commander added that the Safe School Response Centre has trained 5,000 people in a bid to address the menace of attacks on schools in Nigeria.

The trained persons comprised personnel of the NSCDC, operatives of private security companies and members of different neighbourhood watch groups.

“The response centre was actually established in February, 2023. The training of staff and formation of the Technical Committee took about four months.

“Since inception, about 5,000 persons have benefitted from various training. The beneficiaries included the personnel of the Corps and representatives of other agencies at the centre, including Police, DSS, DIA, Ministry of Education etc.

“Members of the Private Guard Companies, vigilantes, hunters, etc. were the second category since the corps supervises PGCs in Nigeria.

“The third category were members of selected host communities as well as the school communities during community engagement exercises

“Issues of security are personal. This is why the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi has directed that every school child and teacher in Nigeria must enjoy the capacity building,” he stated.

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