The Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps and National Emergency Management Agency are joining forces, once again, to enhance capacity of educational leaders for development and implementation of safe school best practices, protocols and measures.
Education Stakeholders have commended security agencies for working together in the best tradition of multi-stakeholder collaboration to provide updates on safe school preventive, precautionary and protective best practices at the annual national safe school consultative conferences. Stakeholders across the country are convinced that without the sustained collaborative effort of security agencies, attacks on Schools and consequential casualties would have been worse.
The focus of Security agencies in this year’s consultative conference, scheduled to hold in Abuja from 10th to 12th September, is on lessons learned from recent attacks on educational institutions around the world. The annual confab is organized by Safe School Academy International as component of Safe School Empowerment Project launched in 2014.
The confab is of strategic importance for educational institutions for good reasons. Various reports confirm that schools have become targets of choice for terrorists, insurgents, militants, kidnappers, cultists, robbers and other criminals. And that the attacks are on the increase. The 2018 United Nations report on Children and Armed Conflicts confirmed that “attacks on schools registered a rise in comparison to previous years” just as the report released by UNICEF on 21st August verified 396 Schools under attack in African and Middle East countries. In Nigeria, terrorists, kidnappers, bandits and robbers continue to target schools.
The importance of the consultative conference is also underlined by a recent study indicating that 80% of primary and secondary schools are not safety compliant in terms of security leadership, personnel, infrastructure, facilities, administration, audit, emergency preparedness plan, identification systems, communication.
As in previous years, the consultative conference will be attended by Governing Councils, Heads and of Chief Security Officers of Institutions; Heads and Principal Officers of Education Ministries, Agencies, Unions and Associations. Members of Safe School Task Teams of various State Governments are also attending the conference.
The Confab will feature the commencement of the nationwide distribution of Safe School Compliance Guide produced to assist Parents, Regulators, Proprietors and Administrators of Educational Institutions to objectively assess the level of protective, preventive, precautionary and mitigation best practices, protocol and measures against security risks, threats and vulnerabilities in their institutions.
The Guide, which is distilled from the Safe School Manual and Safe School Empowerment Project researched, developed and implemented with support and facilitation of Security Agencies, also serves as useful resource for identification of gaps towards formulation and implementation of appropriate safe school policies and measures
*Maj-Gen Matthias .A Efeovbokhan (rtd) Coordinating Consultant,
Safe School Empowerment Project.
September 3, 2019.