The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to ensure prompt release of budgeted funds for the implementation of Nigeria’s Safe School Response Coordination Centre.
Prince Clem Agba, the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this at the inauguration of the National Safe School Response Coordination Centre.
The ceremony was held at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning had promised that adequate budgetary allocation for the safe school programme would be made.
According to him, the spate of insecurity and attacks on schools has made the safe school initiative more imperative and of concern.
“We must, therefore, support every effort geared toward making our schools safe and this initiative is one of such efforts,” he said.
According to him, proactive strategies are key to ensuring safe schools by focusing on a balanced approach to prevention, intervention, security and emergency preparedness.
Agba said that this could also be achieved by a combined effort of improving school safety communication, school climate, psychological support services and ensuring meaningful relationships with public organisations interested in safety.
“Education is a powerful agent of change, so we must ensure that every child is able to 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.”
Also speaking, NSCDC Commandant-General (C-G), Dr Ahmed Audi, said that violent attacks on schools had negative effect on teaching and learning, thereby, reversing sustainable national development efforts.
“There was the abduction case of 276 students in Chibok, killings of students and their teachers, bombs detonated in school assemblies, and burning of school buildings, among others not exempting cases of unreported dormitory raping of girls,” Audi said.
The C-G said that according to statistics, about “2, 295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa between 2009 and 2018.
“While an estimate of 1, 500 schools had been destroyed since 2014 with more than 1,280 casualties among teachers and students.”
According to him, the safe school initiative is one of the measures by the Federal Government to tackle the spate of attacks on school facilities in Nigeria.
Audi commended the cooperation of all sister agencies in ensuring that one of the mandates of the Corps was met in ensuring that schools in Nigeria were safe.
“We are optimistic that working together, we shall make our schools safe and secure for uninterruptible teaching and learning in line with the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs),” he said. (NAN