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It’s time to review security arrangement in schools, says Idris NUT boss

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Nasiru Idris is the National President of, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT). In this interview with AHMAD BABA IDRIS in Kebbi, the NUT chief expressed concern over the increasing kidnapping of school children, saying pragmatic measures are needed to secure schools, particularly, in the northern part of the country.

How can we make schools safe?
THE issue of security is a very serious challenge, especially in schools. What we are doing as a union is to advise Federal and state governments to put new security measures in place to save the sector from danger.

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If the problem of insecurity persists, fears are that students would stay away from school, even teachers as well. Paying ransom to kidnappers is encouraging them to continue. To ensure that our schools are safe, the government should deploy law enforcement agents to schools, consider fencing the premises because most of these schools are not secured.

If the government fails to adequately secure schools, Nigeria’s out-of-school children would increase because no parent, whose child was kidnapped and thereafter released, will send his or her ward back to school.

Can you briefly tell us some of your achievements as national president of NUT?
We are doing our best to prevail on Federal Government to make teaching attractive to the best brains. We wrote president Mohammadu Buhari seeking an extension of the service year for teachers and giving incentives to those in the grassroots.

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The president approved the extension of service to 65 years and service year to 40. Most of our classrooms are empty, because when teachers retire, the government is not recruiting new ones.

We are working with other principal stakeholders to ensure that the bill is speedily worked on so that teachers can start enjoying the new salary structure and other incentives.

What is your advice to youths at this period in the nation’s history?
Youths should not allow themselves to be used as political thugs by politicians. They should acquire skills so that they can be self-employed. Government should also provide an enabling environment for our youths to thrive.

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