FG Working On Measures To Protect Schools Against Attacks

The federal government has established a committee with members drawn from relevant MDAS, including the Federal Ministry of Education, the Military, and other Security Agencies to raise funds to secure the school environment against terrorist attacks.

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed disclosed this while declaring open a Summit for “Safeguarding Our Schools/ Protecting Our Children & Future”, organized by Emergency Coordination Centre, in Abuja on Thursday.

According to her, the Committee has been working to collate inputs from the relevant MDAs and to develop a National Plan for Financing Safe Schools.

“The plan will incorporate state-level plans, as well as Federal Government sectoral plans, with an emphasis on ensuring adequate budgetary allocation to create a safe learning environment for teaching, learning, and restoring confidence in the education system.

“Consultations are currently underway with States, local governments, and other critical agencies of government, and the Committee is also working to identify the most transparent, effective, and accountable ways of mobilizing and deploying resources.

“The goal is to develop a robust collaborative cost that prioritizes plan which would adopt the whole society approach to safe schools. The National Plan will be implemented in phases starting with Most at the Risk States, Local Governments, and Schools Host Communities.

“This National Plan is expected to be launched before the end of the 3rd quarter of 2022, and will clearly outline how Nigeria intends to protect her schools and other learning places so that our children can once again return to learning in a safer and more secured environment”, Ahmed said.

The Minister pointed out that the security and safety of children, their teachers, and host communities continue to be a critical priority for the Government of Nigeria.

She further stated that over the past several years Nigeria has faced major security challenges, including attacks on schools and other learning places, adding that “this has led to the closure of schools in impacted and most at risk communities”.

Ahmed said the Federal Government in keeping with its responsibility to create safer and more secure teaching, learning, and living environment for her children has taken several steps in this direction.

She recalled that in 2014, as part of efforts to tackle these crises, the Federal Government launched the Safe School Initiative (SSI), which focused on enabling children affected by conflict and insecurity to continue with their education unhindered.

Similarly, she said on 31st December 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari formally signed the Safe Schools Declaration Ratification Documents, signaling the country’s commitment to implementing the intergovernmental commitment in Nigeria.

She said last year, to further demonstrate the resolve of the government and people of Nigeria to address the serious challenges posed by conflicts and insecurity to safe schools, and in consultation with local and global stakeholders, “we convened (in partnership with the Emergency Coordination Center, UNICEF, and other stakeholders) a High-Level Forum on Financing Safe Schools, culminating in a collective set of commitments reflected in the Abuja Compact In October 2021.

“Nigeria hosted the Fourth International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration. The summit was aimed to galvanize needed support for the declaration and to review progress in achieving the various commitments to protect schools and children from further attacks”.

The Minister commended the organizers of the Summit spearheaded by Dr. Ayoade Alakija, adding that “the incredible work undertaken by the Emergency Coordination Center over the past 8 months (emphasizing the first-hand narratives, and data collected from communities and schools across the country) will undoubtedly prove invaluable as we work collectively to develop and fund integrated solutions to the issue of school safety in Nigeria”.

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