Related Stories
David Adefeso Impresses Fans With Another Finance-Related Video
Seyi Makinde Schools FG on Economic Benefits of Twitter, Condemns Ban
Renewed onslaught on drug abuse
Coscharis Mobility Offers Vehicle Finance Scheme
PHOTOS: President Buhari arrives France ahead of African Finance Summit
Buhari leaves Abuja to attend African Finance summit in Paris
Ecobank Partners Vanguard|Economic Forum Series, convenes MSME Finance Summit on lending to small businesses
FLASH | Parents Withdraw Wards From Schools in Abuja Over Fear of Kidnap
PDP Govs Move to Stop Ayades Planned Defection
Police Commissioner orders uninterrupted patrols around Schools in FCT
CryptoLocally acquires Finance Bridge Trading Academy
Probe ‘Missing'' $30m Safe School Fund ” SERAP To Buhari
Atletico Madrid Linked With Summer Move For Chelsea Skipper Azpilicueta
Simy Nwankwo Proud To Break Martins'' Serie A Record, Not Willing To Discuss Future Move
Schools issue warning after vile ˜National Rape Day hoax sweeps TikTok
NEC Backs CBN, Finance Minister, Says No Money Printed
Banditry: Katsina State Govt Deploys Dogs To Secure Schools
El-Rufai Employs Dogs to Keep Schools Safe From Terrorists
El-Rufai Employs Dogs to Keep Schools Safe From Terrorists
Kano Pillars Move Will Help Musa''s Form Ahead 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, 2022 AFCON – Finidi
Rohr Okays Ahmed Musa Kano Pillars Move
Four Years After, Orange-One Finance Thrills Customers
Buhari''s Aide, Shehu Sani Hail Musa''s Move To Kano Pillars
Finance Minister Reacts to Obaseki''s Claim that FG Printed N60bn, Says Edo Gov Lied
Premier League: Chelsea Thrash Palace To Move Into Top-Four
EXCLUSIVE: Move over Messi! Haaland overtakes Barcelona icon as Man City's No.1 transfer target
PM Imran removes Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh
Manchester United Target Dembele Move
Germanys Move to Return Stolen Benin Bronzes Piles Pressure on Britain
South African Finance Minister Tito Mbowenis  Mid-Term Budget de-mystified
 
 
 
 
thisdaylive.com  Apr 25, 2021 Visit Site
Renewed Move to Finance Safe Schools
 
 

The federal government has initiated a coordinated approach to financing and implementing an integrated safe schools programme across the country, which is government-led and is tailored to the current realities. Ndubuisi Francis reports that a comprehensive and effective plan of action is desirable to stem the current spate of abductions in schools in the northern part of the country

Prior to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria accounted for approximately 20 per cent of the global out-of-school population. With an estimated 13 million children currently out of school in the country, Nigeria sits in the precipice of a socio-economic disaster and a full education crisis, if there is no coordinated action to stop the current wave of systematic attacks on the fundamental rights of children to a safe learning environment.

Parents are increasingly more nervous about sending their children, and particularly their young girls to school, with some opting to withdraw existing students.

This troubling statistics pose a major danger both in the present and near future.

The Safe Schools Initiative

Following the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State the then federal government alongside the then United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, and one-time British Prime Minister, Dr. Gordon Brown, and several development partners and private sector stakeholders launched the Safe Schools Initiative (SSI).

This was in April 2014 when Nigeria hosted the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Abuja.

The SSI, which was initially implemented in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states was generally designed to:

¢ Facilitate the transfer of students from high risk areas to safe schools;

¢ Provide education in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and other affected communities;

* Ensure the rehabilitation of school security infrastructure, while also implementing community-driven security processes.

A national Safe Schools Fund was established in 2015 to aggregate funding from the federal government, private sector and donor communities.

While some level of progress has been made through the SSI and other programmes, there is still a long way to go, and there is need to reimagine, institutionalise, and scale up the safe schools programmes.

Financing Safe Schools and Safe Learning Communities

Current realities characterised by the spate of abductions in schools across the three geo-political zones of the north, and the growing apathy among parents to allow their children and wards to go to school have thrown up fresh challenges.

In a bid to stem the tide, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on Tuesday organised a high-level dialogue on Financing Safe Schools: Creating Safe Learning Communities. The well-attended event which drew stakeholders from all strata of the society within and outside the country was aimed at initiating a process towards renewing and reimagining commitment to maintaining learning environments that are safe, secure and that protect the dignity of children, teachers, and school administrators.

Participants were the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard; a former British Prime Minister, Dr. Gordon Brown; governors, ministers, all the Service Chiefs, United Nations (UN) agencies, development partners, donor agencies, and the Organised Private Sector (OPS), among others.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who set the ball rolling, noted that the dialogue was an opportunity to come together to renew and reimagine the countrys commitment to ensuring safe schools for the children.

This process, she said, must be government-led, must be strategic, and must result in a multi-stakeholder framework and plan of action that ensures that any planning done is sustainably financed.

Ahmed noted that financing is a critical enabler to maintaining safe and secure Schools.

She stressed: It goes without saying that financing is critical to the successful implementation of any proposed interventions that come out of todays dialogue. We in government recognise that to make the critical investments necessary to sustainability secure our schools and ensure a holistic and community-centered approach to safe schools programmes, we must address the longstanding challenge of domestic revenue mobilisation. This process is already ongoing through the implementation of fiscal reforms, including Finance Acts 2019 and 2020.

Todays dialogue recognises the need for decisive action and for a coordinated approach to the financing and implementation of an integrated safe schools programme across the country, which is government-led and is tailored to the current realities on ground.

Our citizens are looking to us to lead the way, and we must heed the call to action, and we must all work together to realize the promise of safe school environments.

The minister lamented that the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis have posed unprecedented challenges globally, including Nigeria.

She observed that while the government has been proactive in response to the pandemic, establishing and implementing the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) and other interventions (including the scaling up of social safety net programmes, and increased investments in health and education), the pandemic has deepened insecurity across the country.

This, she added, had resulted in an alarming spate of school attacks and mass kidnappings, stressing that , These actions are a direct attack on our childrens fundamental human rights to an education without fear of violence or attack, as described in the Safe Schools Declaration, to which Nigeria is a signatory.

The minister recalled that Nigeria was in fact among the first 37 UN member states to endorse the Declaration.

The UN Special Envoy on Global Education and former British Prime Minister, Dr. Gordon Brown, who joined the dialogue virtually, said he was excited to be part of the discussions on the Safe Schools Initiative.

He regretted that Nigeria accounts for 20 per cent of the worlds out-of-school children, warning that a full-blown education crisis was brewing.

Brown noted that if nothing was done within and outside Nigeria to arrest the drift, a future of regrets would ensue

He recalled that way back in 2014, following the abduction of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls, the idea of safe schools started from investments from diverse business fellowships for education across the globe and supported by the charity, raising funding from business meetings, governments and government donors.

Brown assured that such donors were still ready and willing to help in the latest move to re-energise the initiative, adding that the Safe School Initiative was able to help 2,400 students relocate from high-risk areas in some of the states to 43 unity schools.

He stated that since 2014, over 1,300 school children had been abducted and were yet to return.

Abductions/Insecurity and Strategies

The first panel discussion which dwelt on the Economic and Social Impact of Insecurity had the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai as one of the panelists.

El-Rufai, who provided the synopsis of insecurity in his state with special reference to the recent abductions in schools, said the target of kidnappers and bandits were usually girls and those living in boarding schools.

He restated his opposition to negotiation with, and payment of ransom to bandits, saying the federal government should apprehend and kill the outlaws.

He argued: Nobody living in the forest is innocent, and we must kill them all. The Chief of Air Staff has been doing well and this has led to a reduction in the activities of bandits in recent times.

While prescribing the acquisition of drones in addition to aircraft in the fight against insecurity, he explained that the only way to discourage banditry was to stop negotiating with them and paying ransom, but to completely wipe them out.

The governor who stated that part of the measures to address the abduction of students was the erection of perimeter fencing, disclosed that before the recent spate of abductions in the state, a risk assessment carried out showed that 42 secondary schools were at risk.

According to him, 10 of them were immediately closed, leaving 32 following assurances by security agencies to provide quick response during emergencies. He said there was the need to invest more in the security agencies, adding that they require superior firepower to overwhelm the criminals.

El-Rufai pointed out that governors should be accorded a level of control over the police to be able to effectively handle security challenges.

Speaking in another panel discussion, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Lucky Irabor, pledged the support of the military for the Safe Schools Initiative and other measures to tackle the general insecurity in the land.

He, however, appealed to the media to be more responsible in their reportage of security issues, regretting that the narratives in the media were misleading.

According to him, the reportage on insecurity triggers fear among the people, adding: The narratives that you find within the media space are misleading. I will rather that the media begin to tone down the hype that they give to issues that have to do with insecurity.

The CDS acknowledged that a lot of ungoverned spaces dot the nations landscape, noting that whatever it takes to secure the schools is a worthy investment, and should be pursued.

Irabor also argued that the global community should support Nigerias efforts to combat insecurity as doing so is equally in the best interest of the world.

Contributing, the Chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Asue Ighodalo, explained that the Initiative requires a lot of funding.

Pledging the support of the support of the private sector as was the case with the COVID-19 pandemic, Ighodalo stated that the Nigerian economy is over-regulated and needs to be loosened to trigger investments.

While explaining that the use of technology and fencing of schools could prove potent tools in checking insecurity in schools, he observed that the high unemployment at 33 per cent is a trigger for criminality and must be addressed.

Minister of State for Education, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba, suggested that his Ministry should coordinate the work plan flowing from the dialogue, urging the finance ministry to provide a template for all stakeholders to operate.

Nwajiuba added that the coordination should be between his ministry and that of finance.

Govs Appeal to FG, CBN to Shelve Planned Deductions

At the event, Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto State) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State) pleaded with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to shelve the deduction of loans obtained by states from the federal government via the apex banks budget support facilities.

Apparently speaking for their colleagues, the two governors, who are Vice Chairman and Chairman, respectively of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) said the deductions would worsen the fiscal positions of the states.

Tambuwal appealed to the CBN and the federal government not to deduct the loans from states monthly allocations at this time, and appeal echoed by Fayemi, who said such deductions at this time would compound the states fiscal problems.

The CBN had recently threatened to commence deductions to recoup the $2.1 billion budget loans advanced to the states, following claims by the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, that the federal government printed N50-60 billion to augment the March FAAC disbursements to stakeholders.

Contributing to the discussions on safe schools, Fayemi said what the country was facing was a much more serious and complex security issue that needed every collective approach to handle.

He stated that governors were facing the direct heat of the security problems in the country amid tough economic pressures.

Lamenting that before insecurity compounded the problems facing the country, one of the biggest challenges was how to ensure enough enrolment in schools, noting that with insecurity in the mix, there is a far more complex problem to grapple with.

According to him, the abductions and kidnappings in schools had provided enough excuse for parents to keep their children away from schools, and called for urgent steps to stem the tide.

He said: At the Nigeria Governors Forum, we are committed to working with other partners to ensure that we keep our schools safe. In all our states, we are conducting vulnerability assessment of all our schools. The state security services have been helping in the states on this.

The governor lamented that the high unemployment rate had worsened the socio-economic problems in the land, with more criminality and insecurity.

It is good to be tough on crime. We must be tougher on the causes of crime. You cannot have a 33 per cent unemployment rate in any country and not expect to deal with the sociological implication of that.

That is an area that the Nigeria Governors Forum believes we must also work collaboratively with our partners, also work with our financial institutions and private sector in order to find the best mechanism to bring our youth to work.

If we do that, we would have fundamentally played our role in addressing the causes of this untoward crisis that the country is dealing with.

He regretted that over N41 billion is sitting idle with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) because of part-funding challenges, adding that a pathway to surmount that challenge is underway.

National Plan on Safe Schools

At the end of the high-level dialogue, the federal government is to develop a national plan on safe schools as stakeholders from the public and private sectors of the economy, donor agencies and development partners across the globe rose to galvanise financing support in the renewed effort to ensure safe schools in Nigeria.

Although the Minister of Finance would not provide figures vis–a-vis the cost implication of the national development plan, the she said such a cost could only emerge after all the stakeholders, including the security agencies, had done their cost analysis.

She, however, stated that the implication of not putting such a plan in place and ensuring safe schools could cost the nation N32 billion annually.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
Terms of Services    Privacy Policy    Cookie Policy    Contact Us    Submit Website     Advertise Plucom Technology Ltd.