We’re committed to schools’ safety, says FG

THE Federal Ministry of Education has reaffirmed its commitment to protection of lives and property in schools at all levels.

The permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr Sonny Echono made the assertion on the sidelines of the inauguration of a 550 – capacity hostel for JSS1 students’ at Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos State, recently.

According to him, the incessant attacks on schools and the subsequent kidnapping of students and staff by suspected bandits were worrisome and unacceptable.

He said the development was greatly affecting the federal government’s pursuit towards providing quality education to all children of school age in the country.

He said further, that the government, especially at the centre, was making frantic efforts with relevant security agencies and at committee levels, to address the general issue of insecurity in the country, including schools.

He noted that there was also a sub-committee chaired by the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, that was focusing mainly on security of schools across the country, and had the military, civil defence personnel and some civilians, including him, as members.

The permanent secretary also noted that the committee had concluded its report, stating the workable measures to address the problem and arrive at desirable results.

Echono disclosed that people in the local communities and native vigilance groups and local police, school principals and students would equally be involved in the efforts.

He said that the assessment carried out by the committee on schools nationwide, including the 110 federal unity colleges, indicated that some schools were in very high risk areas while some others were either in the medium or relatively safe areas.

“So, different approaches and measures will be taken based on the risk category a school is falling into, to address the situation with no school to be left unprotected,” he added.

He said approval had been given and implementation had also taken off gradually.

Speaking on the Queen’s College hostel, Echono commended the principal, Dr Tokunbo Yakubu-Oyinloye, for her leadership role and for ensuring the college remained focused in a bid to attain greater heights.

He said the ministry was proud of the college and its achievements over the years.

He charged both staff and students of the school not to rest on their oars, but to strive harder to move the college higher.

In her welcome address, the principal of the college, Dr Yakubu-Oyinloye, expressed happiness over the completion of the hostel, saying it would ease accommodation challenges in the school.

She noted that the administration of her predecessor, Dr (Mrs) Betty Are built the first floor while her own administration built the remaining two.

She said it was interesting to know that the same permanent secretary who inaugurated the first floor also performed the inauguration of the completed hostel for use.

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