The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has urged security agencies to invest more in proactive intelligence-gathering in a bid to address the menace of attacks on schools in Nigeria.
Mr Tunji-Ojo said this at the Safe Schools National Summit, themed, ‘Tackling Identified Threats in the Nigerian Safe Schools Project’, on Thursday in Abuja.
He said it was imperative for the security operatives attached to schools across the country to be proactive rather than being reactive to criminal occurrences.
“At every point in time, the security agencies must be ahead of the criminals. If we are creative we will always give these criminals a hard time for them to figure out what our strategies are.
“Proactive has a lot to do with intelligence. I want to see schools in the most turbulent places secured as those in the Federal Capital Territory.
“NSCDC cannot carry out this safe school initiative alone. For me, to secure our schools, we must leverage on intelligence because it makes planning preside and actions quite direct,” he said.
According to Mr Tunji-Ojo, it was impossible to deploy security operatives to all schools across the country bearing in mind the magnitude of schools in Nigeria.
The minister further called for a full implementation work plan for the safe schools programme to reduce the rate of out-of-school children, pledging full support to the initiative.
“The Safe Schools initiative is one of the best initiatives of the government in recent times. As the Minister of Interior, I want to assure you that I assign myself 100 per cent to this initiative.
“The question is not about the rationale of the initiative, but it is about the effectiveness and implementation of strategies of the initiative.
“For me, as a country, we are not short of fantastic and brilliant ideas but we are short when it comes to effectiveness,” the minister said.
DAhmed Audi, Commandant General (CG), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said that in spite of various interventions by stakeholders and security agencies, Nigeria was still faced with the challenge of school attacks leading to consequential high rate of out-of-school children.
Mr Audi said that the summit would attempt to address the perceived threats against the successful implementation of the safe schools project in Nigeria.
“It is also intended to facilitate actions and to equip relevant stakeholders on the implementation of the safe schools project,” the CG said.
Tahir Mamman, Minister of Education, said the attacks on schools would have been prevented and the impact mitigated with effective collaboration by the necessary stakeholders.
Mr Mamman, a professor, represented by Giginna Ifeyinwa, was of the opinion that emergency preparedness and prompt response by relevant authorities would have shown commitment to the ‘Safe School Declaration Guidelines’.
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