Senate to probe multi-million dollar safe school initiative scheme

The Senate, on Tuesday, resolved to probe the moribund programme, the Safe School Initiative in Nigeria.

The resolution was sequel to a motion, “Urgent need for the Restoration and Revalidation of the Safe School Initiative in Nigeria,” sponsored by Senator representing Cross Rivers North, Stephen, Adi Odey.

Tribune Online checks revealed that the scheme was launched in 2014 by the former president, Dr Good luck Jonathan.

Jonathan has kicked off the Safe School Initiative, a programme designed to build confidence in young Nigerians and their parents towards going to schools, especially in parts of the country with security challenges.

The United Nations had mooted the establishment of the initiative in the wake of the abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok, Borno State.

President Jonathan had at the World Economic Forum for Africa held in Abuja in May 2014 announced a pledge of $1 million to the fund.

At its inception, the former Minister of Finance and current Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the United Nations Special Envoy on Education and former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown were co-chairmen of the steering committee. Other members were Ibrahim Geidam, Kashim Shettima and Murtala Nyako, immediate past Governors of Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa, respectively.

The team also had Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote; and Thisday Newspapers publisher, Nduka Obaigbena.

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The Senate expressed concern that the unfortunate increase in the insecurity crisis in the country, with the advanced target at schools in diverse locations, especially the regrettable kidnap of the Chibok and Dapchi School Girls in Borno and Yobe States respectively, the Kankara School Boys in Katsina State and, most recently, the kidnap of students of Government Science College, Kagara in Rafilga Local Government Area of Niger State, have exposed the unimaginable decadence and dilapidation in the schools in Nigeria, drawing inference from the footages from the school environments.

It further maintained that “these ugly and condemnable activities of insurgency, kidnapping, wanton killings and other associated crimes will not abate, especially in consideration of the payment of “Ransom” for the release of victims and as reportedly hinted by the immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in the course of his confirmation as ambassadorial nominee.”

The Senate noted that incidents of abduction of students might instill fear in parents and guardians and force them to withdraw their children and wards from schools or prevent them from sending their children to schools which will in turn defeat the government’s educational policy of “literacy for all” and further deprive children of the opportunity of having quality education to compete with their peers globally.

The lawmakers said they were “convinced that the latest twist in the criminal activities associated with insecurity in Nigeria especially as it relates to the invasion of school premises as well as kidnap of students and teachers for ransom can be contained and defeated through the full implementation of the “Safe School Initiative” by all stakeholders.

While asking its Committee on Basic and Tertiary Education to investigate what happened to the fund generated for the safe school Initiative and report back in two weeks, the Senate equally urged the Federal Government to collaborate with the various State Governments, in order to restore, revive and revalidate the Safe School Initiative in Nigeria.

It further urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to collaborate with the various States and Local Government Areas/ Area Councils to urgently design and implement a workable arrangement to deploy well-armed security teams around all Schools in Nigeria.”










Senate to probe multi-million dollar safe school initiative scheme

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