NSCDC launches emergency response center against kidnappings, terrorism
In furtherance of efforts by the federal government to end the spate of kidnappings and abductions for the ransom of school children, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), has launched a National School Security and Emergency Response Center to scale up surveillance and protect school children.
Flagging off the centre yesterday in Abuja, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, said the government will ensure the prompt release of funds for the financing of the entire safe schools initiative to ensure that children are able to go to school without fear of kidnappings or abductions for ransom.
He said the government is aware that the success of every one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs), rests on a safe and secure environment which is why “We must therefore ensure that every child is able to learn in a safe environment where they can get the quality education they need to unlock their full potential and contribute to building a better Nigeria.”
Agba explained that as a follow-up to an earlier commitment by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, the budgetary allocation has been provided in 2023 to ensure smooth take-off and sustenance of the initiative.
“The Federal government has already committed to the financing of safe schools through the National Plan on Financing Safe Schools. A high-level forum entitled “Financing Safe Schools: Creating Safe Learning Communities’’ was held in April 2021, which highlighted our commitment to providing adequate funding for the implementation of the National SSD Plan of Action 2021– 2023.
“This important ceremony represents the culmination of some of the steps of the present administration to improve school safety for our children.
“Security in recent times is becoming a major concern to the average man or woman on the street simply because of the high rate of crimes in various parts of the world. We must therefore support every effort geared towards making our schools safe. This initiative is one of such efforts,” he notes.
He continued, “I believe proactive strategies are the keys to safe schools by focusing on a balanced approach to prevention, intervention, security and emergency preparedness, combined with improving school safety communications, school climate, psychological support services, and meaningful relationships with public organizations with interest in safety.”
Earlier, Commandant General, NSCDC, associate professor, Ahmed Audi, pointed out that the national school security and emergency centre is the first of its kind in the country and is an initiative under the recently launched female squad of the corps which was set up specially to provide maximum security to schools and curb schools kidnappings among other insecurity affecting schools and keeping children out of the classroom.
According to him, “No nation can attain development in the face of widespread insecurity of lives and property.
“The rise of the Boko Haram sect has created a new dimension to Nigeria’s insecurity problems as the main ideological target of this violent extremists group is strange to the elimination of western education in Nigeria.
He explained that the activities of this terrorist group not only led to the kidnappings of school children, especially girls, but there are also instances of killing of students, and teachers and the brazen detonation of bombs in schools among other atrocities.
He adds that “In view of the importance of education to human capital development, it has become expedient for the federal government to deploy extraordinary measures to tackle the spate of attacks on schools facilities in Nigeria hence, the commitment and endorsement that all Nigerian schools become safe and secured for uninterrupted teaching and learning activities.
Audi said, “soon after the flag-off ceremony, we shall initiate various processes to the stakeholders to validate the Standard Operating Procedure for this project to allow for the smooth operation of the programme in Nigeria.”
In his remarks, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola said that the problem of safe schools is a global issue and Nigeria must not fail in protecting its future generations.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, he said it was a great concern for the government not to be able to send children to school due to insecurity, hence the evolvement of the safe schools initiative under the NSCDC and it is also part of the agency’s mandate to protect all national assets and infrastructure of which schools are part of.
Minister of Women’s Affairs, Pauline Tallen who launches some of the security monitoring vehicles and gadget at the event, said that “government must protect children, ensure their safety and ensure their education because the future of the country rest on them.”