The Federal Government has reaffirmed the Armed Forces commitment to protect schools across the country to ensure safe learning.
The Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi(rtd) stated this during the Pre-Conference briefing towards the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration (SSD) and launch of the Safe School Security Manual in Abuja.
Major General Magashi noted that the Nigerian State within the past decade has been bedeviled by security challenges in the form of insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes, leaving a huge impact on education.
“The impact of criminality on education in Nigeria is very huge considering that without a secured environment, parents would be unwilling to send their wards and children to schools” he said.
The Minister disclosed that it is against the background that Nigeria signed a letter of endorsement to the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD) on 8 March, 2018.
He explained that the Declaration which is an inter-governmental political commitment to protect students, teachers and schools from the effects of armed conflict is an actualization of the Federal Government’s commitment to the Safe Schools Initiative.
He therefore assured that the Ministry of Defence will continue to provide protection to our educational institutions, especially in conflict affected States in the Country.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Director Education Support Service, Giginna Ifeyinwa said that the SSD discourse was championed by Norway and Argentina through a consultative process that eventually paved way for the call for it’s endorsement. While his counterpart the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georffrey Onyeama, represented by Lazarus Pasama said the process of keeping schools safe be conducted in compliance with domestic and International obligations to ensure continuous support of development partners.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Musa Istifanus, informed that the forth coming Conference which is scheduled to hold from 25th to 27th October, is the first to be held in the African continent, Nigeria, with the theme “Making Commitments a reality: Towards the Abuja Conference.”
He said 112 United Nations member States have expressed political commitment to ensure the safety, security and violent-free education, noting that the signing of the SSD by President Muhammadu Buhari signals Nigeria’s commitment to it’s implementation.
Chief of Defence Staff, represented by Rear Admiral JK Luka maintained that Armed Forces support the Safe School Initiative and will continue to carry out it’s mandate to provide the needed security to ensure schools are safe for learning.
The high point of the event was the launching of the SSD Participant’s manual an trainer’s guide for Security Agencies and Human Rights Organizations by the Minister of Defence.