The Senate yesterday directed its Committee on Basic Education to carry out a holistic investigation into what happened to the over N2 billion budgeted for the Safe School Initiative (SSI) program, with a view to bringing to book the culprits.
The upper legislative chamber also urged the federal government to collaborate with the various state governments in order to restore, revive and revalidate the SSI in Nigeria.
It also called on the federal government to collaborate with the state and and local government to urgently design and implement a workable arrangement for the deployment of special security personnel in schools in Nigeria.
These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion entitled “Urgent Need for The Restoration and Revalidation of the Safe School Initiative in Nigeria,” which was sponsored by Senator Adi Odey Stephen.
Stephen said the Senate is aware that the SSI was launched to promote security and safety of schools, pupils, student, teachers, as well as facilities in 2014.
He expressed concerns that the unfortunate increases in the insecurity crisis in the country, with the advanced target at schools in diverse locations, have exposed the unimaginable decadence and dilapidation in the schools in Nigeria, drawing inference from the footages from the school environments.
The senator expressed concern that these ugly and condemnable activities of insurgency, kidnapping, wanton killings and other associated crimes would not abate, especially in consideration of the payment of “ransom” for the release of victims, which was reportedly hinted by the immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in the course of his confirmation as ambassadorial nominee.
Stephen opined that the latest twist in the criminal activities associated with insecurity in Nigeria, especially as it related to the invasion of school premises as well as kidnap of students and teachers for ransom, could be contained and defeated through the full implementation of the “SSI by all stakeholders.
He said: ‘’Our nation has lost a large number of men and women as well as military resources of our over-stretched military to these kidnappers, terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements, including the recent plane crash which resulted in the death of our Air Force Officers who were on an a mission to aid the release of the recently kidnapped Kankara School students and workers.
“Worried that these incidents may 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 our children of the opportunity of having quality education to compete with their peers globally.