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Lagos returns school safety to front burner, commences audit monday

By Debo Oladimeji
21 January 2023   |   2:48 am
As schools resume in Lagos State for the second term in the 2022/2023 academic session, many parents and guardians are no doubt concerned about the safety of their children in schools.


As schools resume in Lagos State for the second term in the 2022/2023 academic session, many parents and guardians are no doubt concerned about the safety of their children in schools. The apprehension among parents and guardians has its root in the lingering insecurity across the country and the spate of unrest, kidnapping and other safety infractions in schools nowadays.

However, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has since last year prioritised school safety and his administration appears not to be leaving any stone unturned to ensure that parents and guardians receive their children back from school at the end of the term unhurt.

The governor had over and over reiterated that his administration was keen on ensuring that all school children are always safe.

“A secure and safe learning environment potentially allows students and staff to focus on the business of learning. Safe Schools Lagos (SSLAG) allows all stakeholders to play active roles in keeping children safe,” Sanwo-Olu said.

SSLAG is a project launched in April 2022 by the Lagos State Safety Commission with the mandate to ensure a safety culture and compliance in schools and allied establishments where children are looked after, taught, coached or engaged in leisure or religious activities.

According to the Director General/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Lagos State Safety Commission (LSC), Mr. Lanre Mojola, who spoke during the launch of SSLAG at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, SSLAG is a quality improvement programme in education that is implemented in collaboration with five Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). These are the Ministries of Education, Youth and Social Development, Special Duties, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Office of Education Quality Assurance.

Mojola had further stated that SSLAG established a set of guidelines and standards for all schools to follow in ensuring the safety of lives and property in their facilities.

Speaking with The Guardian recently on the impact of the project so far, he disclosed that SSLAG Assessors had been going round schools in the state to sensitise stakeholders on important regulatory requirements that must be satisfied to retain their licences or apply for a licence to operate as learning establishments.

Mojola disclosed that in furtherance of the objectives of SSLAG, School Safety Audits would commence on Monday, January 23, 2023. He added: “SSLAG is backed by the Lagos State Safety Commission Law of 2011, hence providing safe and conducive environment in schools like any other work environment is now law in Lagos State.  Law No CI87 of July 2011 Section 9A-I gives a firm foundation for the SSLAG Framework V.01 launched in April 2022. This framework stipulates that all educational and learning facilities must have a safety licence in order to operate.”

He noted that parents ought to get involved in the initiative by making sure their children in schools are aware of the development. “Relevant questions must be asked by parents and any concerns can be reported to LSC School Safety Desk under the Department for Public Safety and Wellness, Block 18b Alausa Secretariat Ikeja or contact SSLAG on https://safeschoolslagos.ng,” Mojola said.

The Project Lead is Schoolrun Academy ably led by Dr. Bisi Esuruoso, a seasoned education consultant with a passion to change the landscape of education in Nigeria.

She told The Guardian that SSLAG guidelines, which were developed in line with its mandate, are useful for the development and maintenance of an effective Safety Management Systems (SMS) in education and learning settings.

“An SMS consists of emergency preparedness, crisis management and risk assessment information and relevant policies that support a whole school involvement in the implementation of the SMS, which is integral to meeting the compliance requirements stated in the SSLAG Framework /Minimum Standards,” she added.

The Chief Operating Officer of SSLAG, Mr. Vinod Kaurani, on his part, disclosed that SSLAG was creatively using technologies to connect members of education ecosystems in a way that is unprecedented in the history of education in Nigeria, adding that the SSLAG digital platform is billed for launch this month.

“This platform was developed for SSLAG by Telnet, the developer for Interswitch and ‘O Pay’ platforms. The calibre of collaborators on this project indicates the seriousness of the vision of Mr. Governor to ‘creating a Lagos State of our dreams’ to quote Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu,” Kaurani said.

In a recent SOS message to Governor Sanwo-olu, a columnist with The Punch newspaper, Mr. Lekan Sote, described Lagos as a modern metropolitan tech hub with a population of nearly 25 million people, a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $133 billion and monthly Internally Generated Revenue of N45 billion.

“This state, the economic capital of Nigeria, which runs practically for 24 hours, seven days a week, is about 26.7 per cent of Nigeria’s economy. It would have been Africa’s fifth largest economy if it were a standalone country. Such an economy deserves effective security and safety policies,” he noted.

With the steps being taken by the Sanwo-Olu administration to ensure safety in schools, it seems the state has come to the realisation that only children who are safe and alive can learn and achieve their potentials. Time will tell whether the state would remain steadfast to this laudable cause or not.