Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has said his administration will continue to prioritise school safety as part of the efforts to achieve his T.H.E.M.E.S agenda during his second term in office and beyond.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende, spoke on Tuesday night at the inaugural “Beacon of Safety Award” organised by the Safe School Lagos (SSLAG), an arm of the Lagos State Safety Commission.
The governor, while commending the awardees for what he described as their commitment to enhancing safety in Lagos schools, emphasised the need for more schools to comply with the safety initiatives of the government.
He said, “The BOS award is a valuable addition to our multiple efforts to ensure safety in all our schools and demonstrate the value of partnerships between government agencies and private organisations.
“The 24 schools that are recognised tonight have distinguished themselves by their level of compliance to our safety initiative. They have demonstrated sincere dedication to safety practices and minimising risk.”
Deploying technology for safety
In her remarks, the Lead Resource of SSLAG, Bisi Esuruoso, also noted that the state is exploring technology to implement and sustain its safety programmes across schools, adding that the government has also formed an alliance with relevant agencies, including the police and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
She said SSLAG is currently engaging stakeholders in the technology sector to achieve its goals.
She said: “We have a portal where we have already streamlined every piece of information that the schools need in terms of safety. Once they are onboard, they can get all the information needed.
“They can also upload incidents, record and report things in real-time. We are also doing internet safety in terms of cyber security whereby we give schools software and tools to ensure that the children don’t go to certain sites while on the school premises.”
For their dedication to enhancing safety practices and minimising risks in the school environment, 24 schools were on Tuesday night honoured at the inaugural Beacon of Safety (BOS) Awards ceremony organised by Safe School Lagos.
The award ceremony, which was organised in collaboration with Safe School Alliance, also recognised many school safety stakeholders including Nigeria’ Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun; Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Oluwatoyin Ogundipe; Founding CEO of Lagos State Safety Commission, Dominga Odebunmi; PREMIUM TIMES’ Development Editor, Mojeed Alabi; and a senior reporter at the Guardian Newspaper, Debo Oladimeji, amongst others.
The schools awarded Greenwood House School, Lagoon Schools, Bridge House College, Kings’ Court, and Delightsome Land School, among others.
According to the organisers, Mrs Odebunmi was recognised as the first visionary award recipient for her “doggedness in birthing the safety commission” in 2011, and for managing the office to be what it is today.
She was said to have assisted the administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola in developing essential content and “most especially pushed for the implementation of a structured school safety compliance framework.”
IGP Egbetokun was recognised for his contributions towards safety in Lagos State and for establishing the School Protection Squad. “This step shows the IGP’s pragmatism and determination to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and students of various schools”.
Meanwhile, Mr Alabi was recognised for his role in promoting school safety through reporting and advocacy initiatives.
In her remarks, Mrs Esuruoso commended Mr Alabi who doubles as the Chairman of the Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN) for the 2022 summit convened in partnership with the Lagos State Government on security around Nigerian schools.
The organisers explained that the selection criteria for the schools honoured with the award were strictly based on compliance with safety practices.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, the Principal of Dowen College, Adebisi Olayiwola, said the school, a beneficiary of the award, is a testament to their hard work in ensuring safety for all.
“We are very happy to be beneficiaries of the Beacon of Safety awards, we worked hard, trained all our staff and students, and we have advocacy for parents,” Mrs Olayiwola said.
“We make a vocal point; everyone is responsible for safety in schools where we had all our policies put together. We are so glad and we will keep doing more. We also have safety ambassadors who look out for everyone else in the class.”
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