Group tasks government on safe schools in Nigeria

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By Millicent Ifeanyichukwu

The Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) has called for effective partnership among  key education stakeholders on the implementation of state costed plan for safe school in Nigeria.

 

Speaking at a media round table on ‘Safe School Declaration Accountability’ on Thursday in Lagos, Dr Abiola Akinyode-Afolabi, Founding Director WARDC, said there was the need for an increased public awareness on the policy.

According to her,  the SSD policy  was adopted by Nigeria in 2015, adding that  it is a global initiative that started from Norway.

“We, therefore, want to call on government, policy makers, media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to collaborate with us, in a bid to  ensure  that our expectations are met,” she said.

According to her, there is currently a national policy on safety, security and violent free school, so we want this government to commit more fund.

“There is the need for an  active action, plan to make the schools  secure.

“We are looking at the possibility of  government coming up with a legal framework that will define this appropriately,  based on the experience we have had with the issue of security in schools.

“Something that will define minimum standard upon which schools should operate in Nigeria, that will be able to enable safety and security.

“We observed that some schools don’t have perimeter fencing.

“We believe that the media too can play a role, support the process of demanding accountability from the government. The Nigeria constitution talks about the welfare and security of the people as its  responsibility, including children.

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“Overtime we have seen what the issue of safety and security have turned out to be  in Nigeria, going by  the Chibok girls incident.

“Recently,  a community was attacked in Kaduna and about 200 students were taken away from that state,” she added.

Dr Akinyode-Afolabi, noted that though the Kaduna students have been returned, it was clear  that the ugly trend had reached a state of emergency for the government to do more,  to ensure the safety of students.

“Note that incidences like this will make students not to want to go to school and parents will not encourage their wards too, even when they know the importance of education.

“So, we invited the media, we can make a demand, believing that directly or indirectly, we are all connected to a child/children in school and it should be an issue that affects us,” she added.

The WARDC founder said it was also necessary for the government to take further steps in resetting  its  goal on national financing plans and bring more security into schools.

According to her, normalcy can no longer work, especially in the past 10 years since the  Chibok girls incident, adding that it is part of the reasons for advocating  a political will on the side of government on the issue.

The  programme was organised by WARDC in collaboration with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), with an  aim to enhance reportage of the impact of insecurity in education, SSD and advocacy for safe schools in Nigeria. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chinyere Nwachukwu/Vivian Ihechu

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