The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has created a special squad to protect schools across the country against attacks.
The Commandant General of the Corps, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, disclosed this while making his keynote address at the opening session of the capacity-building courses for safe school administrators and managers held at the national headquarters of the NSCDC on Monday.
He said the creation of the Safe School Special Response Squad (SSSRS), which is the armed unit of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre, is in compliance with the implementation strategy of the National Safe School Program.
“By virtue of this creation, the Rapid Response Squad and the Female Squad have been collapsed into the SSSRS.
“The responsibility of SSRS shall be to undertake regular patrols and responds to distress calls as may be directed by the Commander of the NSSRCC. Other responsibilities of the special squad shall be as contained in the SOP,” the CG said.
Audi said the National plan on Safe School is a product of a series of consultative engagements with relevant stakeholders at national and sub–national levels of government in Nigeria, aimed at protecting schools, learners, teachers, non–teaching staff and host communities from attacks.
“The whole idea of the Safe School Plan is in recognition of the prevalence of cases of attacks and violence in Nigerian schools and its devastating impact on schools and host communities.
“It is estimated that 75% (according to the UNDP) of children are in IDP Camps without access to learning.
“To further worsen the situation, parents are scared to send their children to schools thereby contributing to the high rate of out–of–school children in the country,” he said.
Audi disclosed that the NSSRCC is one of the critical components of the implementation strategy of the programme saddled with the responsibility of coordinating safety and security responses for schools and host communities in collaboration with all security agencies and other relevant stakeholders.
According to him, the centre had developed a series of capacity building/training courses to equip various categories of stakeholders for the task ahead, adding that this is the first training in the series and the choice of participants is targeted at management and administrative officers’ cadre.
Speaking earlier, the Commander of the National Safe School Initiative, CSC Tersoo Shaapera, lamented that many parents have withdrawn their children from school while many students are scared of going to school because of insecurity.
He stressed the need for stakeholders to take action now in order to protect the future of the country, adding that the future of the country was in the hands of the students.
On her part, Dr Lydia Ifeyinwa Giginna, the representative of the Ministry of Education at the occasion, noted that every child has a right to compulsory basic education, lamenting that insecurity had deprived many of them of the right to education.
She said abductions, attacks, violence against children, rape, natural disaster and cultism among others have increased the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
Dr Giginna said the federal government must do everything to ensure that Nigerian schools are safe for children and teachers.
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