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Kaduna To Relocate 359 Schools Over Insecurity


Kaduna To Relocate 359 Schools Over Insecurity

The Kaduna State government has announced intentions to consolidate 359 schools in response to the state’s ongoing abductions by bandits.

Speaking at a stakeholders forum and School Protection Squad training on Wednesday, May 8, Governor Uba Sani, represented by his Chief of Staff, Sani Kila, stated that schools in vulnerable communities would be merged with those in safe locations as part of measures to protect schools and children from bandit attacks.

According to him, the school protection squad established under the Federal Government’s Safe School Initiative is tasked with protecting schools, children, and teachers from all forms of attack by bandits and terrorists.

While noting that Kaduna is one of the states that has been fighting a long battle against banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, and other forms of criminality, Kila lamented that non-state actors’ activities have disrupted socio-economic activities in the affected communities and are jeopardising the state’s educational revitalization programme.

He said: “Kaduna state’s educational system is facing a crisis of declining enrolment, with over 200,000 fewer primary school pupils recorded in the 2022/2023 academic session compared to the previous year. This dramatic drop (from 2,111,969 in 2021/2022 to 1,734,704 in 2022/2023) is largely attributed.

“In several local government areas (lgas) particularly chikun, birnin gwari, Kajuru, Giwa, and Igabi insecurity has forced school consolidation, further pushing up the number of out-of-school children. Incidents like the kidnapping of 135 students from the Lea Primary and Junior Secondary School, Kuriga, Chikun local government, tragically illustrate the devastating impact of insecurity on education access and safety.”

Kila stated that no nation could fulfil its human capital development goals and continue on the path to sustainable development if its schools were under threat of instability.

He continued: “The theme of this capacity building programme ‘Strengthening Security Resilience and Integration of Host Communities in the Protection of Education’ is apt. No nation can achieve its human capital development goals, and in fact, make giant developmental strides if it fails to guarantee the safety and security of schools.

“For you to effectively guarantee the safety and security of schools, you must build the capacity of security forces and communities to anticipate, prepare for, reduce the impact of, cope with, and recover from the effects of shocks and stresses. It follows therefore that security forces must integrate host communities in their security plans and execute effective psychological operations to win the hearts and minds of the people.

“I commend the Federal Government for launching the N144.8 billion safe schools financing plan in 2022. The plan was developed through rigorous consultative strategic engagements with all relevant stakeholders in the education and security sectors, at national and sub-national levels.

“It is gratifying to note that in furtherance of this plan, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Olukayode Egbetokun has established the Schools Protection Squad (SPS), a proactive initiative aimed at enhancing security and safety in educational institutions across Nigeria.

“To ensure that the education of our children in conflicts-prone and terrorist-infested areas is not interrupted, we have commenced the merging of 359 schools with those in safe locations. We are also implementing our safe school program to strengthen the security in our primary and secondary schools.

“We are collaborating with the Nigeria police force which is currently training a school’s protection squad (SPS). We have made adequate budgetary provisions for the effective implementation of our safe school programme.”

He enumerated the steps being taken, including fencing schools, creating security and safety response committees with members selected from both the school and the community, deploying Kaduna Vigilance Service (KADVS) to schools, providing emergency lines to schools, training school managers, teaching and non-teaching staff and members of school-based management committees on security awareness, building muster points in schools, providing training on early warning sign identification and construction.

“I hope that this capacity building programme will not only equip the participants with the skills and techniques of coping in challenging security situations but will develop a framework for psychological operations and strategic communication to win the hearts and minds of citizens in conflict-challenged communities,” he said.

“Security forces must hold regular meetings with elders, religious leaders, representatives of youth and women groups.”

A Gentle Reminder: Every obstacle is a stepping stone, every morning; a chance to go again, and those little steps take you closer to your dream.

Nnamdi Okoli

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