The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has set up a Safe School Special Response Squad (SSSRS) to ensure proper protection of schools across the country.
NSCDC Commandant General (CG), Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, disclosed this on Monday at the opening ceremony of a three-day safe school administrators and managers’ training programme at the Corps’ National Headquarters in Abuja.
Audi, represented by Deputy Commandant General (DCG) in charge of Operations, Danladi Mungadi said that the SSSRS was the armed unit of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre (NSSRCC).
“By virtue of this creation, the Rapid Response Squad and the Female Squad has been collapsed into the SSSRS,” he said.
The CG said that one major responsibility of the new squad would be to undertake regular patrols and response to distress calls from schools.
He however, said that other duties of the team had been stipulated in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the NSSRCC.
“I have further directed the Commander of the NSSRCC to ensure that the SOP is disseminated to all stakeholders for proper utilisation, implementation,” he ordered.
He further directed all Command heads to appoint a safe school liaison officer for necessary interface with the NSSRCC.
Audi said that these reforms were aimed at re-strategising and repositioning the entire safe schools project for better service delivery.
He said that the implementation strategy for the safe school plan emphasised capacity building and awareness creation for stakeholders, hence, the need for the ongoing training.
Audi reiterated that NSSRCC was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring safety and security responses for schools and host communities in collaboration with all security agencies and key stakeholders.
He appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari, security agencies and all private and public sectors involved in ensuring Nigeria’s safe school initiative thrived.
“This is a new creation which requires all hands on deck if we are to achieve safety for schools and host communities by guaranteeing a seamless learning process in Nigeria,” he said.
The Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu said that it was imperative to understand the threats to schools and how to ensure proactive intelligence and security measures.
Adamu who was represented by the Ministry’s Education Support Services, Director, Dr Lydia Gigginna, said that Education in Nigeria must be protected at all cost from all forms of attacks.
The Minister said that the Federal Government was committed to prioritising the safety of schools which led to the safe school initiative and declaration.
He said that it was also important to ensure school infrastructure were secured by preventing vandalism of school property, avoid building collapse and arsons.
Adamu said that it was significant for threats to be treated seriously by investigating incidents promptly and efficiently.
“Use support staff, take appropriate disciplinary and criminal enforcement steps, document the threats and actions taken, apply security measures,” he said.
The Safe School, National Coordinator, Hajiya Halima Iliya, assured of the Federal Government’s determination and support in ensuring appropriate safety of schools.
Iliya while presenting a lecture on Achieving Safer Schools in Nigeria: National Plan on Financing Safe Schools 2023-2026, announced that N15b had been approved for safe schools project within the stipulated period.
She said there was need for all stakeholders to embrace and perform their individual roles for a collective actualisation of the plan.
Commander of the NSSRCC, Dr Tersoo Shapeera, said that the centre will continue to work efficiently in responding to school emergencies.
Shapeera said that the insecurity of schools in certain parts of the country has impacted on students, teachers, parents and communities; psychologically, socially and physically.
“This situations could deter the future of Nigerian children, so, there is a compelling need for all stakeholders to react due to the rate of drop-outs, insecurity has produced,” he said.
The Commander of the center noted that plans are underway to establish more NSSRCC across the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory with its headquarters situated at the NSCDC headquarters.
“We hope to get more personnel, staff at the center as we plan to run 24/hrs in collaboration with all stakeholders. We are looking for partnership and support from individuals, private sector, government, international communities and civil societies.
“We are also in need of technical resources, financial support, equipment among other needs,” he said.