By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
As Nigeria hosts fourth International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration with the theme “Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice”,President Muhammadu Buhari has said more than 12 million children currently children traumatised and afraid of going to school especially the girl child.
Buhari who spoke at the opening ceremony 4th International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration held in Abuja said that
the incessant attacks on the country’s education system such as kidnapping, abduction of pupils/students, increased activities of insurgence and general insecurity in our schools have exacerbated many factors responsible for the growing number of Out-of-School
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Agboola Ibrahim Gambari, Buhari shared a report released by S.B Morgen which revealed that a total of 1,462 learners and education personnel were abducted between 1st December 2019
and September 2021 in school-related abductions as well as home and community- related abductions of Learners and teachers.
” It is no longer news that at will, bandits, kidnappers and terrorists invade our
educational facilities to abduct the learners in large numbers. Some places that have been hit by these menace include Chibok, Dapchi, Buni Yadi, Afaka, kagora, and Jangebe
in Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states respectively.
” It is disheartening to
note that even when the abducted students are released the trauma of the incidences remain long in their minds hence the plan to have teachers trained on psycho-social support,” he said.
The president said though it has been tough dealing with these security challenges and their effect, the federal government is determined to enhancing the security of learning institutions and the occupants therein.
In view of this, Buhari said the Nigerian Government is mindful of the fact that to record adequate achievements in the education sector, the system would require a total overhaul in the following key areas: Provision of a safe and secured environment for learners and Teachers; Availability of professional teachers;
Proximity of schools to pupils/students; Strong political will on the part of government to invest in education, and provision for adequate funding mechanism.
According to him, to draw attention to safeguarding education, the UN in 2020, has gone further to set aside 9th September every year as the international Day to Protect
Education from Attacks. This means that no matter the circumstances, education
must be protected at all cost from all forms of attacks.
He reaffirmed that government has the primary responsibility of protecting and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels for all learners, especially those in vulnerable situations.
Speaking also, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu said the this Conference
in Nigeria is apt and timely in view of the prevailing
security challenges, expressing his belief that the outcome of the Conference will help to strengthen and protect the educational system here in Nigeria
and be a win for not just Nigeria but for the global community as well.
Adamu further said, “It is my utmost belief that in the course of the Conference, Nigeria
will be able to leverage on the best practices in implementing the safe
schools Declaration, see how new opportunities of collaborations could be utilized to set up preventive measures and provide response mechanisms
capable of having devastating effect on education if not checked.”