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Schools In These 14 Nigerian States Risk Bandits Attack

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Schools In These 14 Nigerian States Risk Bandits Attack

In light of the alarming resurgence of mass pupil abductions, the Federal Government has identified 14 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as areas where schools are at risk of attacks by bandits and insurgents.

The National Coordinator of Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria, Hajia Halima Iliya, confirmed on Sunday, that the data of at-risk schools had been collected for intervention, The Punch disclosed.

Iliya declined to identify the states, but the Commander of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre, Nigeria Security, and Civil Defence Corps, Hammed Abodunrin, said they included Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Yobe, Katsina, FCT, Kebbi, Sokoto, Plateau, Zamfara and three others.

Meanwhile, the Safe Schools Initiative was launched by the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, alongside the Nigerian Global Business Coalition for Education and private sector leaders at the World Economic Forum Africa.

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It entails a combination of school-based interventions, community interventions to protect schools, and special measures for at-risk populations.

The Federal Government inaugurated the Safe Schools Fund with a $10m contribution and another $10m pledge from the private sector.

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Iliya explained that the implementation of the SSI had started in several states.

Responding to questions on what was being done to fortify schools against bandit attacks, she said, “The project has taken off. We commenced implementation in 2023 with the flag off of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre, which we intend to replicate at state and local government levels.

“The states have selected most at-risk schools in each senatorial zone for the implementation of National Plan on Financing Safe Schools Programme (2023-2026).’’

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In response to the development, the coordinator explained that state governors had expressed plans to provide funding for the SSI for the protection of pupils and teachers in the identified locations.

She added, “Some states have made provision for the Safe Schools Programme in their 2024 budget in line with the National Plan. We intend to engage the states to guide them through the implementation.

“We’ve communicated to all the states; letters have been written for inclusion of Safe Schools in their budget and for them to select the most at-risk schools. More than 11 states have responded. The budget from states is for them to work on physical infrastructure such as fencing state schools and put other control measures.’’

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liya further disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Education and the NSCDC had conducted some training for their men, adding that the Nigeria Police had trained senior officers, including all divisional police officers across the country on Safe Schools.

According to her, the security forces have commissioned equipment that would be deployed to various state commands for the operations.

“Data of at-risk schools from 14 states, including the FCT have so far been collected for intervention. The Defence headquarters and DSS (Department of Security Services) are expected to mainstream Safe Schools through capacity building of their officers. N15b was provided and released as takeoff in 2023; utilisation is still ongoing,’’ she stated.

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