Boko Haram: States fortify security in schools

School proprietors are providing modern security systems to check attacks by criminals.

Some state governments have started to comply with a presidential directive requiring them to fortify security in and around public and private schools in their areas.

President Goodluck Jonathan had directed states in the Northeast region to secure schools against the background of the abduction of some schoolgirls from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

Mr. Jonathan also announced a N6.2 billion Special Intervention Fund by the Federal Government and advised the states to complement the efforts through counterpart funding.

A recent survey indicated that proprietors of schools are gradually keying into the programme of providing modern security systems to check attacks by criminals.

In compliance with the presidential directive, the Yobe Government said it had erected fences around all public schools in the state as a measure to check attacks by insurgents.

More than 100 students were killed by insurgents last year at Government Secondary School, Damaturu, and Government Secondary School, Mamudo, as well as Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, and College of Agriculture, Gujba.

The State Commissioner for Education, Muhammad Lamin, said the fences were meant to check trespassing in the schools.

“The schools were porous and vulnerable before the erection of the fences but now there is a sense of security as no one can drive through except through the gates,” he said.

Many teachers and students expressed satisfaction with the new arrangement.

A teacher, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “It (fence) gives us some sense of security unlike when you could drive in from all directions.”

Some parents, who also refused to be mentioned, commended the state government for fencing the schools and rebuilding burnt structures.

Also, security personnel were seen around some schools in Damaturu.

On its part, the Gombe State Government said it had been recruiting retired soldiers to guard public secondary schools.

At the Government Girls’ College, Doma; Government Secondary School, Gombe I; Government Secondary School, Gombe II; and Arabic Teachers College, Gombe; at least three retired soldiers each were employed to guard the schools’ premises.

Some of the former soldiers said on condition of anonymity that they ran two shifts – day and night – at their respective schools.
At some private schools, such as Pen Resource Academy, Gombe; Yahaya Ahmed Model School, Gombe; and St. James School, Gombe, private security men were seen guarding the premises.

Some of the schools had also erected barricades at their entrances as a way of checking movement into their premises.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Gombe, Fwaje Atajiri, said that the police were collaborating with other segments of the society to ensure effective security.

He added that the command had a good synergy with other security agencies in the state in sharing and using intelligence.

“We meet from time to time where we share intelligence and from time to time engage in joint operations,” he said.

Mr. Atajiri explained that the operations covered all sectors of the society, including schools and other public places.

Also in Adamawa, one of the three Northeast states under emergency rule in the last one year, school proprietors have begun to beef up security around their premises following violent attacks by insurgents since 2012.

However, an official of the state government said the state had yet to receive the Federal Government’s Special Intervention fund.

Ahmad Sajoh, the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the state governor, Murtala Nyako, said the governor was committed to investing in security for the benefit of the people.

Meanwhile, heads of security agencies in the state said they were collaborating in their jobs.

The Brigade Commander, 23 Amoured Brigade, Yola, Rogers Nicholas; the state Commissioner of Police, John Abakasanga; and the state Comptroller of Immigration, Rauf Adeboyega, all attested to a collaboration among the agencies.

In Abeokuta, the authorities have also taken steps to beef up security around schools.

Some school administrators said that the issue of security had become paramount to them because of incessant attacks on schools.

The Principal, Abeokuta Grammar School, Idi-Aba, Olurotimi Farunbi, said the walls of the school had been raised to make scaling of the fences difficult.

He said that the school had also increased the number of its security personnel to ensure effective surveillance of the premises.

A source at Federal Government College, Odogbolu, said that the school had restricted movement in and out of its premises from 8:00 p.m. to 6 a.m., except on special cases.
The source said that students had also been barred from using phones in the school, while vehicles going into the school premises were searched thoroughly.

“We make sure all vehicles moving in and out of the school premises are thoroughly searched. We also organise regular fora during which we sensitise both students and parents to the need to be security conscious. We normally create special sessions during our PTA meetings during which we invite security personnel to give us talks on security issues,” he said.

The Principal, Iganmode Grammar School, Ota, Kayode Ajayi, said that the school recently bought a bomb detecting machine, while plans were underway to buy CCTV cameras to beef up security in the school.

On his part, the Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said that the command had intensified security in and around public and private schools in the state.

“Those that operate boarding facilities enjoy presence of our policemen on their premises during and outside school hours. We also ensure regular patrols of other schools which do not operate boarding facilities while we have also compiled the list of all security managers of the schools and colleges, including tertiary institutions, for regular meetings and interactions,” he said.

The State Intelligence Bureau, SIB, of the command has also been liaising with the Department of State Security, DSS, in Ogun for proper intelligence information gathering and sharing with stakeholders, including principal officers of the schools, Mr. Adejobi said.

He said that the command would continue to do the needful to ensure adequate protection of lives and property in and around school premises.

Similarly, the Bauchi State Government said it had provided security measures in all its schools following threats of attack on some schools across the state.

The Bauchi State Commissioner for Education, Ibrahim Aminu, said in Bauchi that the state government had sensitised teachers and students to security matters, especially on seeing strangers or strange objects.

He said that the threat to attack schools was not a new phenomenon.

“We have taken some measures in collaboration with security agencies, parents and the communities to ensure that all our schools are safe. Sometimes, the threats came repeatedly, they equally came from students who felt they would not pass their promotion examinations and after investigations some students were held responsible for the threats by the security agencies,” he disclosed.

Mr. Aminu said that proactive measures were also taken whenever information filtered into the ministry that there was a threat issued to any school.

“What we do is to send it to the security agencies and we investigate and take all the necessary measures we can. We don’t joke with threat and useful information,” said the commissioner.

(NAN)


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