Nigerian approves N1.6 billion to support ‘Safe Schools Initiative’

The total amount to support the Safe Schools Initiative.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday announced an approval of $10 million (N1.6 billion) in support of the “Safe Schools Initiative.”

This brings the total amount in support of the initiative to about N3.2billion.

The former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, on Wednesday teamed up with a coalition of Nigerian business leaders to launch the project as part of activities of the World Economic Forum for Africa, WEFA.

Mr. Brown, who is the UN Special Envoy for Education, said the collaboration with the Global Business Coalition for Education and A World at School launch was in response to the growing number of attacks on the right to education, including the kidnapping of more than 250 girls last month.

In support of the global “Bring Back Our Girls,” campaign, Mr. Brown announced an initial contribution of $10 million fund to help match investments by the government to promote schools as safe spaces.

About 500 schools in the northern states would benefit from the pilot scheme, with a focus on schools and community interventions, with special measures for the most at-risk and vulnerable children.

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the funding support by the Federal government became imperative to check the kind of insecurity situation that resulted in the abduction of students at Chibok in Borno state.

“The forum is a success, because it enables the Federal Government to mobilize all participants to support us to bring back the girls,” the minister said. “The international community has rallied round us to ensure that we bring back our girls.”

She said during the “Bring Back Our Girls” rally, there had been additional interests by investors to invest more into Nigeria to help create more jobs and ensure inclusive growth.

“Our commitment to bring back our girls is unwavering”, the minister said.

The former British Prime Minister, Mr. Brown, said the programme which would commence immediately, would help boost enrolment level in schools.

“The message is that Africa is growing and no terrorist will stop the progress of Africa. We have been talking with Nigeria’s President on what will be done to bring back our girls and also the safe school project,” Mr. Brown said.

Assuring that the international community was determined to give all the support it could to the Nigerian government to bring back the abducted girls, the former British leader said abduction of any child at school or anywhere is the worst thing that could happen to any child.

He said the initiators of the “Save School Project” have asked the international community to be supportive of the initiative to reassure people, particularly parents of the abducted girls, that concerted efforts are being made to ensure that the schools are safe.

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