FG launches National School Emergency Response Centre


.. Promises safety for children, teachers

By Palma Ileye

Federal Government through Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, NSCDC and Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning has launched the National School Emergency Response Centre to secure and ensure safety of schools in the country.

Speaking during the launch held yesterday at the National Headquarters in Abuja, Commandant General, NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, assured that no stone will be left unturned in ensuring that schools in the nation were properly and secured safe for learning.

Audi revealed that the decision to protect schools nationwide was borne from governments resolve to halt the deadly trend of incessant attacks unleashed on innocent pupils, students , teachers and school facilities lately.

He gave a statistics disclosing that about 2, 295 teachers have so far been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States between 2009 and 2018 alone, while an estimate of 1, 500 schools had been destroyed since 2014, with over 1,280 casualties being recorded among teachers and students.

The CG however expressed the Corps’ commitment and the uncompromised determination of the Corps to prioritise the safety of lives of Nigerian school children as well as their school facilities as mandated by the federal government.

He disclosed that a special committee of the Corps has been working assiduously towards the production of a Standard Operating Procedure, SOP, for the national project with a view to ensuring that its objective forms part of the cardinal responsibilities of the Corps.

The NSCDC helmsman lamented over the rate at which students and teachers were being killed saying, “Bombs were brazenly detonated in school assemblies, destroying the lives of many students and teachers such as the case of the Yobe school attack while school buildings were burnt, hindering teaching and learning.”

Audi who further disclosed that intelligence has also revealed cases of dormitory raping, regretted that several other attacks has remained unreported pointing out that, “These violent attacks have a negative effect on teaching and learning and have thus, reversed our sustainable national development efforts.”

Also, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed represented by the Minister of State, Clement Agba noted that the Federal government has already committed to the financing of safe schools through the National Plan on Financing Safe Schools. A high- level forum entitled “Financing Safe Schools: Creating Safe Learning Communities’’ was held in April 2021, which highlighted its commitment to providing adequate funding for implementation of the National SSD Plan of Action 2021– 2023.

Agba stated that the Ministry during the financing safe schools stakeholders’ engagement forum also committed to creating adequate budgetary allocation for financing the Federal Government initiated safe schools programme also ensuring that Ministry will also play its part in ensuring prompt release of budgeted funds for prompt implementation.

He stressed that proactive strategies were the keys to safe schools by focusing on a balanced approach to prevention, intervention, security and emergency preparedness, combined with improving school safety communications, school climate, psychological support services, and meaningful relationships with public organizations with interest in safety.

“This ceremony represents the culmination of some of the steps of the present administration to improving school safety for our children. Security in recent times is becoming a major concern to the average man or woman on the street simply because of the high rate of crimes in various parts of the world. We must therefore support every effort geared towards making our schools safe. This initiative is one of such efforts. Education is a powerful agent of change, and improves health and livelihoods, contributes to social stability and drives long-term economic growth.

“Education is also essential to the success of every one of the 17 sustainable development goals. We must therefore 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. The importance of knowledge and learning has been recognized since the beginning of time,” he further stated.