During a period characterized by heightened insecurity in Nigeria, several bombings, kidnappings, and killings were lamentably perpetrated by unknown gunmen. At the time, over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State were tragically abducted. As a proactive measure, the federal government initiated the Safe Schools Initiative in 2014, aimed at safeguarding and ensuring a safe schooling environment for children residing in regions plagued by conflict or insecurity. The former president Muhammadu Buhari ratified the Safe Schools proclamation in December 2019 to further demonstrate his administration’s dedication to schools safety.
Conversely, with the objective of preventing terrorist attacks on educational institutions across the country, the federal government launched a comprehensive Safe Schools Financing Plan in December 2022, amounting to a substantial sum of N144.8 billion. The then minister of finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed made it known that the plan’s implementation will take place between 2023 and 2026. According to her, the plan was formulated through a meticulous process of consultative strategic engagements with key stakeholders in the education and security sector, both at the national and sub-national levels.
Govt made guarantee financing for National Safe Schools Initiative.
The stakeholders were drawn from the Federal Ministry of Education; Nigeria Police Force; Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC); Department of State Security (DSS); Defence Headquarters (Army, Navy and Air Force). Contributions were also duly received from the ministries of Education across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, and the ministries of Finance and Budget. Additionally, valuable insights were provided by development partners, donor agencies, and civil society organisations regarding approach to devise optimal strategies that would effectively ensure that education of children are uninterrupted by the wave of violent activities.
However, the commencement of the initiative has been impeded due to the absence of disbursal of funds. In a subsequent development, in February 2023, the federal government made a resolute commitment to guarantee the expeditious disbursement of financial resources for the purpose of supporting the National Safe Schools Initiative to foster a safe environment where children can engage in school activities without the looming apprehension of being subjected to the heinous acts of kidnapping for ransom.
NPF has undertaken the first measure of inaugurating the SPS.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba stated hat the government is well aware that a secure environment is crucial to the achievement of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Therefore, the government of Nigeria must ensure that all children have access to a secure educational setting where they will receive the high-quality education they require to reach their full potential and help make Nigeria a better place for everyone.
In accordance with it commitment, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has undertaken the first measure of inaugurating the Schools Protection Squad (SPS), a specialised police unit with the sole purpose of ensuring the safety and security of educational institutions within Nigeria. The Acting Inspector-General of Police, IGP Olukayode Egbetokun, has made a momentous announcement of the establishment of the Schools Protection Squad (SPS). This adventurous initiative seeks to proactively bolster the security and safety measures within educational institutions across the nation.
This particular unit tasked to guarantee the safety of students.
Force PRO, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi said the SPS is a highly specialised division operating within the Nigeria Police Force. This particular unit is tasked with the crucial responsibility of formulating comprehensive policies and actively engaging pertinent stakeholders in order to guarantee the utmost safety and protection of students, teachers, and the infrastructure of educational institutions. The squad will be provided with pertinent resources and refined training to adeptly address the security predicaments confronting educational institutions.