The Commandant-General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ahmed Audi, on Thursday in Ibadan disclosed that the Federal Government has developed a national plan on safe schools.
Audi, while speaking at the closing ceremony of the capacity-building programme for the Safe Schools Response Team, said the plan would help enhance synergy amongst security agencies towards schools protection.
The programme was for members of the response team formed from NSCDC officers in Ibadan.
The Commandant-General said the safe schools response team initiative was in reaction to the prevalent cases of attacks and violence on schools in Nigeria.
Audi, who was represented by an Assistant Commandant-General, Shem Obafaiye, noted that the programme was put in place by the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre (NSSRCC).
”It was designed to strengthen the security resilience of relevant stakeholders in Nigeria,” he said.
The Commandant-General added that the stakeholders include vigilante groups, retired security personnel, members of host communities and other security agencies.
He said this was to enable them provide protection for schools and host communities from violence and attacks.
“The whole idea of the Safe Schools plan is to deal with the prevalent cases of attacks and violence on schools in Nigeria and its attendant negative impact on schools and host communities.
”This impact is reflected in things such as the increasing rate of out-of-school children in the country, among others.
“With the recurring cases of attacks and violence in schools in the country, the task ahead of the centre is enormous.
”It therefore requires effective synergy and collaboration from all stakeholders, including the federal, state and local governments,” Audi said.
Speaking also, the Assistant Commandant-General Operations, NSCDC, David Abi, said the Corps has deemed it necessary to create a Safe School Special Response Squad (SSSRS) as NSSRCC’s armed unit.
“The Rapid Response Squad and the Female Squad have also been collapsed into the safe school response squad in compliance with the implementation strategy of the national safe schools programme,” he said.
In his contribution, the Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abdulwaheed Soliu, in his remarks expressed the state government’s readiness to ensure the project’s success in the state.
“I promise that the state government will look into the request for provision of necessary structure for the safe schools programme in the state capital,” the Commissioner who was represented by the ministry’s Deputy Director of Schools, Mr Ibrahim Abiola, said.
One the programme’s participants, Mr Oluwole Olusegun, said the training had taught them better civil ways to approach issues.
“We also know that it is wrong to wear uniforms or carry firearms while on school patrol,” he said.
Another participant, Mrs Sakirat Adekojo, said the training had exposed the participants to the need to network with other security agencies and stakeholders in the communities.
”This is to ensure adequate protection of schools in Nigeria,” she said.
The programme’s 161 participants, drawn from the six south-west states, are expected to take the training down to the officers at their various divisions.