The Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Audi, Thursday launched a special squad, the Safe School Response Team to protect schools from all forms of attacks in the North Central region of the country.
This is coming on the heels of the urgent need to strengthen security operations across schools and colleges of education in the region.
The squad, which includes officers from the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Department of State Security Services, among others are expected to tame the spate of attacks on schools, students and teachers in the six states of the North Central region, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Audi, while speaking in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital at a one-day sensitisation workshop for strategic stakeholders in the North Central geo-political zone on activities of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre and Safe School Project In Nigeria, said the federal government had domiciled the coordination of the project with the Corps.
The CG expressed confidence that the smooth implementation of the initiative would reduce the burden of out-of-school children in the region while calling on stakeholders to support the Safe Schools implementation project to enable the security agencies to achieve their set objectives.
“The National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre is a product of the National Plan on Safe Schools in Nigeria. The menace of violence and attacks on schools in Nigeria is not a new phenomenon to us. For more than a decade, Nigeria has experienced deliberate targeting of education and destruction of facilities; disrupting schools and keeping children out of school.
“The risk of keeping children out of schools continuously and the consequences thereof can only be imagined. It is in an attempt to address this ugly situation that the Centre was created by the government and domiciled under the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps with the responsibility of coordinating safety and security responses against violence in schools and host communities.
“So far, about 48 cases of planned attacks on schools have been thwarted through the collaborative efforts of the Centre. This workshop is one in the series of several advocacies, awareness creation and sensitization programmes being carried out by the Centre to galvanize support, synergy and collaborations towards tackling the challenge of school attacks and violence which has kept a lot of our children out of schools over a long period,” the NSCDC Commandant General added.
On his part, Brigadier General MBG Martins said in a keynote that the issue of kidnapping and banditry in schools across the nation will soon be a thing of the past while commending the federal government for initiating the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre.
“The prevalent state of attacks around the world and schools in particular has been on the rise in recent years. This activity being undertaken by the NSCDC is in response to having safe, secure and violent-free schools. The proactive step taken by the Corps to organise this programme will remain a noble and outstanding one,” he said.
Corroborating him, the Nasarawa State Commandant of the NSCDC, Abbas Bappa-Muhammed, stated that all personnel in the command are committed to ensuring the protection of schools across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state.
Earlier, the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, donated a building structure to the Commander of the NSSRCC, Tersoo Shaapera, and his team for the smooth take-off of the project in the state. Governor Sule was represented by his deputy, Emmanuel Akabe at the occasion.