Declare State of Emergency on  Schools’ Safety, Group Tells FG

Funmi Ogundare

The Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, yesterday, appealed to the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the safety and security of schools and commit funds towards ensuring that schools in the country are safe for teachers and learners .

Akiyode-Afolabi  made this call at a media roundtable meeting on School Safety Declaration (SSD) Accountability, organised in collaboration with United Nations Democracy Fund ( UNDEF) and (FNUD) in Lagos.
She expressed concern about the attack in March this year, of a school in Kaduna state, saying that there should be a minimum standard which schools should operate to enable their safety and security.

She regretted that despite Safe School Declaration ( SSD) in the country 10 years ago, schools are still being attacked.
“The government should come up with a legal framework that will define appropriately the minimum standards which schools should operate in Nigeria and enable safety and security. We noticed that in most of the schools, there are no perimeter fencing and we can’t leave the school to be porous with different access into them, ” she said.

The essence of the roundtable meeting , she stated, was to ensure that the media play an important role in demanding accountability from the government and ensure an action plan.
” We believe that everyone is connected to a child in school and so it should be an issue that should affect all of us. There’s currently a national policy on safety and security; and violence -free school, so if we adopted that, why can’t we put our money where our mouth is.
“ There is a need for an action plan . There are agencies that can work on security of schools and ensure that kidnapping and abduction of students do not arise”, the executive director stated.

Akiyode-Afolabi expressed concern that when bandits attack schools and kidnap students , it will generate headlines and once ransom are paid, the process will be seen as a norm.
” That normal situation cannot work, as it has not worked for us for 10 years and that is why we are saying that government needs to have the political will to stop the abduction and kidnapping in schools ,” she stressed.
She stated that Nigeria has the highest population of out-of-school children, adding that incidences like this will make them not to go to school.

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