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Safe schools boss advocates fighting insecurity with technology


NSCDC-logo-960×540The Commander of Nigeria’s National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Hammed Abodunrin, has emphasised the need to leverage technology to boost school security nationwide, rather than relying solely on armed personnel.

Abodunrin shared this insight with our correspondent during a conversation on Friday.

The Safe School Response is an initiative of the Federal Government in response to increasing cases of attacks on schools by bandits.

The National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre was established by the Federal Government on February 23, 2023, and saddled with the responsibility of coordinating safety and security responses against violence in schools and host communities.

On January 30, 2024, six pupils, two teachers and a driver of Apostolic Faith Church Primary and Secondary School, Emure were abducted in Eporo-Ekiti while being transported home after school hours.

On March 6, at least 287 pupils were reportedly kidnapped when terrorists on motorcycles stormed their school at Kuriga, in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, whisking them away in an operation that drew condemnation and outrage from the Presidency and the global community, including the UN children’s welfare agency, UNICEF.

The commander stated that due to Nigeria’s vast number of schools, exceeding 100,000, no single agency had the capability to provide personnel for all of them.

He emphasised that the initiative would prioritise technological solutions over increased personnel for school security.

“No single agency possesses the capacity to cover all schools across Nigeria, given their vast number exceeding 100,000.

“Furthermore, the Safe School philosophy transcends mere deployment of uniformed personnel within school premises; it emphasises external monitoring.

“Instead of fixating on the notion of sufficient personnel, the focus should shift towards enhancing technology for real-time monitoring, enabling early warning systems and prompt responses. Introducing armed personnel to schools can adversely impact children psychologically.

“Moreover, security forces themselves become targets for criminal elements, potentially endangering members of the school community in crossfire situations,” Abodunrin noted.

He further stated that safe school concerns encompass a wide array of challenges beyond banditry and insurgency, including incidents of rape, cultism, bullying, harassment, defilement, and various other vices within educational institutions.

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