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We’ve set up mechanisms to ensure safety of schools -President Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that his administration remains committed to ensuring safety in schools to protect investments in the education sector.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari in his address at the opening ceremony of the fourth international conference on Safe School Declaration (SSD) in Abuja.

The theme of the conference is: ‘Ensuring Safe Education for All’.

Represented by Ibrahim Gambari, his chief of staff, Buhari said the maiden conference being held on the Africa continent will provide a great opportunity to share good practices in protecting schools from attack.

According to him, Nigeria has been able to systematically develop strategies and mechanisms to protect education with the help of the SSD framework.

He said the approved policy on safety, security and violence-free schools will serve as a response document to promoting safety in schools.

The president said his government has identified and put mechanisms in place to address all kinds of hazards that affected the wellbeing of learners, teachers, and the school community to ensure their security.

“The developed minimum standards for safe schools will communicate the mechanisms to be put in place by all schools to address all kinds of hazards and violence for the continuation of schooling at all times,” Buhari was quoted as saying.

“Also, the developed SSD trainer’s guide and participants’ manuals are currently being used for the training of the security agencies and human rights organisations on the protection of education.

“In recent times, all over the world, there has been a myriad of persistent attacks on education and Nigeria is also having its own fair share of attacks.

“The incessant attacks on the country’s education system such as kidnapping, abduction of pupils and students, increased activities of insurgents and general insecurity in our schools have exacerbated many factors responsible for the growing number of out-of-school children.”

The president expressed worry over the abduction of students, saying even after their release, the trauma of the incidents remain in their minds.

He, therefore, called for the training of teachers on psycho-social support.

“You may wish to know that the first known abduction of school children in Nigeria took place in 2014, when 276 girls were taken from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno, north-east Nigeria,” Buhari said.

“Since then, attacks on schools and abductions of students have grown in number and spread across the northern part of the country.

“The Nigerian government is highly committed to prioritising safety in schools to protect investments in the education sector which will validate the endorsement of the safe schools’ declaration.”

Buhari also said the conference will help to showcase the country’s achievements with the support of Education in Emergencies Working Group (EiEWGN) and the relevant civil society organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria.

There have been many cases of school abductions in Nigeria, especially across the north.

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