Over 40 civil society organizations have called for enhanced security across schools in Nigeria.
The CSOs, drawn from the six geo-political zones converged in Abuja for a 3-day step down training on schools’ safety, security and resilience systems building as part of the follow up on safe schools’ initiative of the African Union intervention on Girl’s education.
The event was organised by the Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), in collaboration with the Education in Emergency Technical Working Group, and UNICEF is funded by the Ford Foundation as part of its international support to improve education, girl child access to education and schools’ safety initiatives.
In his remark, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Architect Sunny Echono, represented by Mrs Uchenna Uchenna, says ensuring safe schools as a national priority that the federal government is taking seriously.
While urging civil societies to take the step-down training with all the dedication required, the Permanent Secretary congratulated civil society groups for their contribution for the successful completion of the 4th International conference on safe schools’ declaration.
In her welcome address, Dr Judith-Ann Walker, The Executive Director, development Research and Projects Centre, lamented the reluctant and resistance of parents to send their children to school due to rising insecurity, urging the participants to discuss and find solutions to the menace of school attacks and how if deliberate and committed efforts are not taken, Nigeria girl child will be left behind.
While urging the participants to discuss and bring outsolutions that would help eliminate threats to school safety, she said only safe schools will ensure quality education, improved enrolment and completion rate of education.
While describing the training as timely, Dr Judith Giwa, Coordinator, Education In Emergency, UNICEF, disclosed that UNICEF is grateful with this collaboration between the dRPC, and the Ford Foundation to bring civil society groups across the 36 states of the federation to learn about the decisions and recommendations of the AU summit on girls education in Africa.
In her speech at the occasion, Mrs Abiola Sanusi, Senior Policy and Strategy Adviser, Global Coalition to protect schools, called on the civil society to improve their advocacies to protect Nigerian schools and pressurize governments at the federal and state levels to invest on schools’ protection, intelligent gathering, and parents’ involvement to ensure education continuation in Nigeria.
While adding the traditional voice to the debate, Sarkin Yakin Gagi, an Advisor to the Sultan of Sokoto on Health, challenged the civil society organization to double their efforts and to increase vigilance in ensuring schools are protected and Nigerian children are given the opportunity to be educated.
Highlight of the occasion was an emotional presentation by Dr Fatima Adamu who expressed the disappointment of parents in Kebbi state over the abduction of over 50 female students of the Yawuri secondary school. She called on the Kebbi state government to engage parents and to brief parents in the situation of their children.