Nuhu Ribadu, national security adviser (NSA) to President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, urged the police to synergise with other security and law enforcement agencies to ensure successful implementation of the government’s Safe School Initiative.
He made the call in Abuja at the police strategic forum on achieving safe schools in Nigeria.
Ribadu was represented at the event by Abba Dikko, the coordinator of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the office of the NSA. He said the police should synergise with other stakeholders in the areas of intelligence and information sharing at strategic and tactical levels.
He added that this would mitigate the menace of security challenges in line with Federal Government’s directive.
The NSA commended the efforts of the police in producing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual for the Safe School Initiative.
He said the initiative would strengthen collaboration between security and law enforcement stakeholders to address the security vulnerability of schools and other educational institutions.
“Undoubtedly, education has always been the foundation of progress in any society. As we strive to build a prosperous country for the future of our children and the generation unborn, it is critical that we prioritise the safety and security of educational institutions at all levels.
“Education is not only about acquiring knowledge and skills, it is also about fostering an environment that encourages creativity, critical thinking and personal growth,’’ Ribadu’s representative said.
He noted that over the years, educational institutions had been faced with security challenges of mass kidnapping, abductions, senseless killing of teachers and vandalism of educational infrastructure.
He said the security challenges had impacted negatively on school enrolment, particularly for the girl child in the northern parts of the country.
They had also hindered the full realisation of the collective vision of optimising education as a catalyst for national, human and capital development, he noted.
Olukayode Egbetokun, the inspector-general of police, said the inauguration of the SOP manual was a step in the right direction. Egbetokun noted that the focus was to achieve the right educational environment for school children.
“The SOP is a comprehensive roadmap that underscores the commitment of the police to safeguard education by creating a secure, safe and conducive learning environment for students.
“In years past, schools used to be the safest place for children.
“Since Nigeria recorded the first incident of school kidnap in 2014, however, criminal elements had continued to threaten the safety and security of educational institutions.
“The challenges demand innovative, adaptive and sustainable approaches to ensure the efficacy of the efforts of security agencies in providing safe environment for all.
“The commitment of the police to safeguard schools and ensure the unhindered pursuit of knowledge led to the creation of the SOP manual,’’ Egbetokun said.
He added that the manual outlined the meticulous procedures that would guard law enforcement agencies, educational institutions and communities to ensure safe and secure learning environment in schools.
Egbetokun said another stride taken by the police in pursuit of the safe school initiative was the establishment of the Police Protection Squad.