…says 12m children traumatised, afraid of school
President Muhammadu Buhari has candidly admitted that it had been tough dealing with the issues of insecurity and their effects, which has become a major concern for millions of Nigerians. The President, who was speaking at the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration with the theme: ‘Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice’ cohosted by Nigeria yesterday in Abuja, also pointed out that this has led to over 12 million children, especially girls, being traumatised due to attacks on schools, and are afraid of returning to school to access quality education.
Represented by the Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, he said: “I must tell you that it has been tough dealing with these security challenges and their effect.” He acknowledged that the incessant kidnappings of pupils/students and general insecurity in schools was responsible for the large number of Out-of-School Children, which is already the highest globally. But sounding upbeat, President Buhari added: “Moving forward, our faith in the nation is unshaken. We have been strong, determined and robust in order to enhance the security of learning institutions and the occupants therein.”
He said the nation’s unshakeable faith in resolving the daunting security challenges was evident in its determination to enhance a robust security at learning institutions. He said: “In recent times, all over the world, there has been a myriad of persistent attacks on education and Nigeria is also having its own fair share of these attacks. “It is no longer news that at will, bandits, kidnappers and terrorists invade our educational facilities to abduct the learners in large numbers. Some places that have been hit by this menace include Chibok, Dapchi, Buni Yadi, Afaka, Kagora, and Jangebe in Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states respectively.
“It is disheartening to note that even when the abducted students are released, the trauma of the incidents remain long in their minds hence the plan to have teachers trained on psycho-social support.” Quoting a report by S.B Morgan, the president revealed that out of 1,462 learners and education personnel abducted between December 1, 2019 and September 2021, 17 teachers and learners had lost their lives. President Buhari further noted that to record adequate achievements in the education sector, there must be a total overhaul in the provision of a safe and secured environment for learners and teachers, availability of professional teachers, proximity of schools to pupils/students, strong political will from government to invest in education, and provision of an adequate funding mechanism. Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, was confident the outcome of the Conference would help Nigeria strengthen and protect the educational system, which he said was undergoing prevailing security challenges that were endless and reoccurring.