Boko Haram: Education worst-hit sector – Gen Magashi

From Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Minister of Defence Major General Bashir Magashi,(Rtd) Thursday said the education sector was the worst hit by the Boko Haram group since its inception in the country in 2009.

He said the atrocities of the terrorists has forced most parents to stop their children and wards from going to school for fear of being kidnapped, aimed and even killed.

The minister made this known at the pre-conference briefing towards the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration and launch of the SSD security manuals in Abuja.

He said the impact of criminality on the education sector in Nigeria was very huge as parents cannot afford to jeopardize the security of their children in an unsafe environment.

He however promised that the military would do everything within its powers to ensure a peaceful learning environment to enable children go back to school without been attack by criminal groups.

“The ideology of Boko Haram is centered on the abolition of Western education. To this end, the Education Sector remains one of the worst hit areas since 2009,” he said

“the Armed Forces of Nigeria will continue to fulfil her constitutional responsibility in providing a secure environment conducive for education and other socio-economic activities to thrive in the country,”

In his address, the Commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, while profiting a lasting

solutions to the menace of terrorism, called for a comprehensive mapping of schools saying “this mapping is critical for proper assessment of all schools for a good understanding of security risk that each school is exposed to.

“I wish to propose the activation of a national emergency response plan. This plan will provide a step by step action guide to be taken in the event of an emergency in any of our schools. The plans should also include self-defence and personal safety drills for pupils and children our schools.

“Lastly, a centralised channel of information destination among the schools , security agencies and stakeholders should be put in place. This i believe will provide schools with the prerequisite frameworks required to send out distress calls or to relay vital intelligence to law enforcement agencies”.

Also speaking, the Minister of Education , Adamu Adamu who was represented by the Director, Education Support Service, Giginna Ifeyinwa said the insecurity in the North East and North West has made parents to be unwilling to allow their children attend school.

He also said children are now being traumatised and refusing to go to school in the region.

According to him, The Nigerian Education system as we know, has been experiencing insecurity and violence such as kidnapping, abduction, maiming and killing of children and teachers, among others. Furthermore, the use of schools for sheltering purposes especially by the Security Forces has also made schools vulnerable to attacks by Non State Armed Groups.

“The insurgency and banditry issues in North-East and Northwest respectively, have created fears and worries among parents and children.

“Most parents are now reluctant to release their children to attend school. On the other hand, the children are also traumatized due to the school attacks and are refusing to go to schools for fear of being killed or abducted”.

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