GROUP LAUNCHES SAFETY CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT PUPILS IN SCHOOLS

Worried by the increased cases of violence and insecurity across the country, particularly in schools, the Nigerian Safe School Initiative has launched the ‘Safe School Year Awareness Campaign’.

The campaign according to the convener, Mr Oshunmakinde Adedayo, is designed to foster collaboration amongst academic communities, the government, civil society, religious groups, parents and students on how to work together towards creating schools that are welcoming, safe and inclusive.

Adedayo who lamented the security situation in Nigerian schools especially in the north east where students are not only killed but injured and abducted, said the campaign would step up actions on how to better protect Nigerian schools against all forms of violence and potential threats, which can endanger the objectives of education if no measure is taken.

Through the campaign, activities like training, community sensitisation and emergency preparedness drills are packaged to help prepare the academic communities for unforeseen challenges, awaken the courage of adults and children on school safety matters, and also coordinate the security of schools across the country as well as the communities in which they are located.

He said, “This campaign awareness is being envisioned by National Intelligence Department for School Safety (NIDSS), an arm of MYK Crime Control Services, in collaboration with Women Advocate for Safer Schools Network and other security agencies. It seeks to mobilise parents, policymakers, school officials, students and religious groups across the nation.

Purportedly, this initiative defines everyone’s role as per school safety matters, and ready to connect voices as against any anti-social behaviour within the school environment, and that of the security challenges confronting the society which children are the most vulnerable of.

“The goals of this campaign awareness is to educate the audience on the elements of school safety, engage all stakeholders in making more schools safer, and facilitate the development of strategic plans that will effectively address each school’s unique safety and security concerns. Intimidation, harassment, bullying, suicide bombing activities, kidnapping threat and other anti-social behaviors can serve as the foundation for lethal events in the future, if no serious action is taken, and it is consider now to be predictors of more serious crimes in schools and elsewhere.“From statistics, as of September 2006, there were more than 1.7million internally displaced persons in the state of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa which was most affected by Boko Haram insurgency.

“No child should have to worry about safety when in school. This initiative is not a cookie cutter awareness programme; it is a network of school-led, civil populace initiative and that share common belief on the importance of school and children safety. While federal, state and local partners have primary responsibility for the physical security at schools, through training, best practices guide, workshops, and table top exercises loaded under this initiative, we hope to foster a culture of preparedness in our academic communities,” Adedayo said.

Source: Guardian Nigeria, by Ujunwa Atueyi

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