In an effort to combat the alarming trend of schoolchildren abductions, the Federal Government has devised a plan to implement electronic identity cards in schools. These state-of-the-art cards will incorporate chip card technology, ensuring enhanced security measures to safeguard the students. Hajia Halima Ibrahim, the esteemed National Coordinator responsible for the financing of the Safe Schools Project, recently disclosed this information during a captivating interview on Inside Sources with Laolu Akande, which aired on Channels Television.
Ibrahim, the second guest featured in the week’s edition, expressed her belief that the implementation of this initiative would provide a means for schoolchildren facing danger to notify the Safe School Response Centre. This centre is located at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) office in Abuja. Additionally, she emphasized the future establishment of similar Response Centres throughout the entire nation. According to her, the subject of security in schools and its impact on students is a matter of concern to everyone, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach involving the entire society.
Importance of embracing innovation and thinking creatively.
The Safe Schools Plan has formed a working group consisting of representatives from various government agencies who have a stake in the matter. The members comprising the group are sourced from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the Department of State Services, the Defence sector, NSCDC, and the Ministries of Education at both the central and state levels. Ibrahim emphasized the importance of embracing innovation and thinking creatively. He stressed the need for self-reliance, highlighting that relying solely on the government is not enough. It is everyone’s responsibility to actively contribute to the progress and development of the society.
Furthermore, in order to adhere to the requirement of students carrying ID cards at schools, a potential solution could involve integrating chips onto these cards, leveraging the advancements of the digital era. With the philosophy of see something, say something, reporting any concerns becomes even more convenient as one merely needs to press one’s ID card, instantly alerting the response centre. The manned response centres are equipped with security agents, collaborating with both responsive and protective agencies. In order to ensure prompt and efficient responses to incoming calls, the responsible individuals are well-informed about the appropriate contacts to reach out to.
This initiative will have a transformative impact.
Private institutions have the capability to provide such opportunities to their students, whereas the government has the potential to collaborate with private enterprises in order to extend the same advantages to public school students. All students from the plethora of schools across the nation, numbering over 160,000, will now possess the capability to notify security authorities through the response centres, as declared by her. Furthermore, she mentioned that various governors of Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, and other regions have actively allocated funds in their 2024 budget to support and endorse this ground-breaking endeavour.
More so, the issuance of Digital Alert ID-Cards to schoolchildren nationwide will have a transformative impact, highlighted the Host, Akande, emphasizing the profound significance of this development. The escalating occurrence of kidnapping Nigerian students has become a cause for deep concern, as rebel groups exploit this harmful activity to their advantage by demanding exorbitant sums of money in exchange for the safe return of these children, resulting in millions worth of ransom being paid. On January 29, 2024, a horrifying incident unfolded in Ekiti State, as a group of individuals, including students and staff members, from the Apostolic Faith School were forcibly taken captive while travelling on their school bus.
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Their intended destination, Emure-Ekiti, was tragically interrupted when assailants ambushed them at Eporo-Ekiti. Although a week later, the victims were finally released from captivity, the devastating discovery of the deceased bus driver cast a somber shadow over their newfound freedom. There has been a recurring pattern of schoolchildren being kidnapped in Nigeria, with the recent abduction of Ekiti pupils being just one example. Over the years, Nigeria has witnessed similar incidents in Chibok, Dapchi, Kankara, Kagara, and many more in Kaduna, where terrorists have targeted schools and taken thousands of children hostage. These mass kidnappings have sparked international outcry. Although some students have managed to regain their freedom, others remain trapped within their abductors’ control, enduring both captivity and sexual abuse.