Schools In These 14 States & FCT Risk Attacks – FG Warns

by Ohepo Ohepo

In response to a disturbing resurgence of mass pupil abductions, the Federal Government of Nigeria has identified schools in 14 states, along with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as being at high risk of bandit and insurgent attacks. This alarming situation has prompted urgent measures to fortify educational institutions against such threats.

Hajia Halima Iliya, the National Coordinator of Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria, confirmed that data collection on at-risk schools has been completed, marking a crucial step for planned interventions. Although the specific states have not been publicly disclosed, Hammed Abodunrin, Commander of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, listed states including Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Yobe, Katsina, the FCT, Kebbi, Sokoto, Plateau, Zamfara, among others, as vulnerable to these perilous activities.

The recent abduction incidents highlight the urgency of the situation. In one week alone, 465 pupils, teachers, and women remain in captivity following their abduction. Notably, an attack on an Islamiya school in Sokoto State resulted in the kidnapping of fifteen pupils, shortly after 287 individuals were taken from schools in Kaduna State’s Chikun Local Government Area.

In the wake of these tragedies, the Safe Schools Initiative, initially launched following the April 2014 abduction of Chibok schoolgirls, has gained renewed focus. The initiative aims to combine school and community interventions with special measures for at-risk populations to protect educational environments.

The Federal Government has demonstrated its commitment to the Safe Schools Initiative by inaugurating the Safe Schools Fund, bolstered by contributions from both the government and the private sector. The 2023 fiscal year saw a significant budget allocation of N15bn to the initiative, signaling the government’s dedication to enhancing school safety.

Hajia Iliya detailed ongoing efforts, including the implementation of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre and the selection of the most at-risk schools for intervention under the National Plan on Financing Safe Schools Programme (2023-2026). State governors have also pledged to allocate funding for the protection of pupils and teachers in the identified areas.

Training for security personnel has been conducted by the Federal Ministry of Education and the NSCDC, with the Nigeria Police training senior officers on Safe Schools protocols. The deployment of commissioned equipment to various state commands is expected to bolster operations and enhance the security of educational facilities.

With data on at-risk schools collected and intervention plans in motion, the focus now turns to community awareness and cooperation. The recent abductions underscore the need for heightened vigilance and the adoption of preventive measures to safeguard Nigeria’s future generations. The Federal Government’s concerted efforts, alongside collaboration from state authorities and local communities, are crucial in the fight against the threat to educational security and the well-being of the nation’s youth.

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