The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has organised a 5-day capacity building programme for 300 officers, to provide special security for schools across the Middle Belt States.
The capacity building programme for safe schools response team with the theme; “Exercise Safe Schools 2023″, commenced on Monday in Makurdi.
Speaking at the event, the Benue Commandant of NSCDC, Mr Yakubu Ibrahim, said the programme’s aim was to provide security for schools and their host communities.
Ibrahim stated that many schools in the Middle Belt were vulnerable to attacks by bandits and terrorists, due to lack of perimeter fencing and physical security presence.
He said those schools with physical security presence employed untrained personnel, and that was the major reason for the training for NSCDC officers, so that they could provide security for the identified schools.
He stated that the workshop would provide participants with the necessary skills to tackle security challenges in schools and their host communities.
The Commandant commended Gov. Hyacinth Alia for supporting the programme, disclosing that the governor had promised counterpart funding of the programme.
He enjoined the selected officers for the training to take it seriously, saying that security of school environment was key to attaining educational goals for development.
“You who are the lucky few selected for this training must stay focused because you will have to keep the education environment conducive and safe for learning as there is no development without education”, the commandant advised.
In his address, Alia, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Joseph Alakali, said Benue was committed to safe schools policy.
The governor said a survey had already been conducted, and 28 schools were mapped out for safety coverage in Benue.
He promised that the state government would collaborate with the NSCDC to ensure security for schools and their host communities, in order to guarantee a seamless learning process in the state.
Also speaking, the Benue Commissioner for Education, Mr Frederick Ikyaan, thanked the NSCDC for choosing Benue for the training.
Ikyaan promised that state government would partner with the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre (NSSRCC), to ensure safety of students in their various places of learning.
In his speech, the Commander of NSSRCC, Mr Tersoo Shaapera, said the strategic objective of the safe schools programme could only be achieved with intentional work and support at all levels.
Shaapera therefore, called on all stakeholders to cooperate with security agencies as they strove to protect schools, learners, teachers, non-teachers, as well as host communities from attacks.
He tasked participants on collaboration with sister agencies after their training, to ensure success in their tasks, saying that lack of synergy would amount to wasted efforts.
Participants to the training were drawn from commands in all the states in the Middle Belt, Taraba and the FCT.
“Understanding Intra, Inter and Multi-Agency Arrangements for Enhanced Safe Schools Project” was delivered by Mr Stephen Okwunde from the office of the National Security Adviser at the event.