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FG commences N145bn safe-school project

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By Abiodun Okunloye

48 vulnerable schools in each state is scheduled to be covered in 18 states.

As a result of the repeated attacks on schools across the country carried out by dangerous individuals, bandits, and kidnappers, all of which have affected the country’s educational system, the government has felt compelled to establish the Safe Schools Initiative. The Safe Schools Initiative, which will cost N144.8 billion and initially cover at least 48 schools in each state, is scheduled to get underway this year in 18 states. The initiative has also received backing from institutions such as the World Bank and UNICEF, as well as civil society organisations.

In addition, the funding for the Safe Schools Initiative could be allotted by the state government as early as the following year in order to provide financial assistance to the federal government. This was due to the fact that the Federal Government said that it planned to allocate N15 billion to finance its Safe Schools Initiative in the year. During a press briefing, Halima Illiya, who is the National Coordinator of the Safe Schools Initiative, a part of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, revealed the information.

Trained personnel from different agencies will be dispatched.

According to her, they have dispatched a highly skilled team to a large number of schools and states. They have narrowed their focus to 18 states, all of which are considered very high-risk, and they intend to cover all schools between 2023 and 2026. About 48 schools from each state are expected. She also mentioned that over the course of the next several years, the objective is to cover 50 percent of the majority of the public schools that are vulnerable to attacks.

More so, she added that in order to finance and carry out the implementation of this plan, the former minister of finance, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, granted approval for the establishment of the Financing Safe Schools Unit, and a technical committee was also established. Members of this committee include representatives from the Department of States Services, the Nigerian Governors Forum, the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Defence Headquarters, as well as the Nigerian Governors Forum.

A cost of N144.8 billion will be spent over the course of three years.

Explaining further, she said this committee was entrusted with establishing a national plan for financing Safe Schools. She explained that the plan specifies funding requirements for the effort, which will cost a total of N144.8 billion over three years. According to Illiya, a National Plan for Financing Safe Schools was developed and put into effect in December 2022. The plan will be put into action between the years 2023 and 2026, and billions will be invested.

The plan calls for a budget of N32.58 billion in 2023, N36.98 billion in the same year, N37.15 billion in 2025, and N38.03 billion in 2026. In order to accomplish this objective, the Federal Government has budgeted N15 billion for the year 2023. She continued on to say that the funds needed for the programme will come from not just the national, state, and local governments but also global organisations, foreign governments, corporations, and philanthropists, amongst other sources.

State governors are also expected to make contributions.

They are also in conversations with the governors. There are important meetings taking place. They have met with the governors of Benue State, Bauchi State, and Borno State, and each of these governors has given them their commitment after these talks. She said they had given them their word that it would be included in the forthcoming allocation of funds. She mentioned that approximately 350 personnel had been trained by the civil defence organisation and that the police also intend to educate some personnel in preparation for the implementation of the project.

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