The commission’s Director-General, Hakeem Dickson, spoke after a meeting on School Safety Management Systems with private proprietors. He said those who complied would be issued a safety compliance certificate. At the meeting were the Association of Private School Educators in Nigeria (APEN), Association of Private School Owners (APSO), Association of Formidable Educational Development (AFED), National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), League of Muslim Schools Proprietors (LEAMSP), Redeemed Schools and Methodist Schools. According to Dickson, the checklist of the safety audit includes emergency preparedness, a secure physical environment, sick bay, first aid, safety signage, good hygiene practices and insurance, among others. He said the exercise was not aimed at penalising schools but to work together to ensure the overall safety of lives and property. According to him, safety in schools is of paramount importance to the state government, emphasising that as a responsible government, Lagos would not compromise in ensuring the safety of children in schools. He reiterated the commitment he made on assumption of duty as the DG of the commission to carry out its mandate of ensuring safety in Lagos State, without leaving any sector, most especially schools where children spend a significant amount their time. Dickson said it was beneficial for schools to have various safety measures to ameliorate the infractions of educational institutions. He advised private school owners to make provisions for safety in their budget so that they could have the requisite safety measures in place, stressing, “what is the essence of being the best school in Nigeria if safety is inadequate?” He reminded school owners that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has signed a Child Safety Law and another which stipulates death penalty for kidnapping as a demonstration of his commitment to safety in our schools. Dickson also stated that it was the intention of government to make proprietors of schools safety ambassadors so that they could assist in the drive to make safety a culture in schools. He solicited for the support of school owners, and promised to always engage and invite them for roundtable meetings, trainings and advised them to avail themselves of the Lagos State safety law as well as the school safety compliance manual, school safety general rules and Ten Code safety framework in order to be familiar with it. Responding, the on behalf of the associations, Dr (Mrs) Femi Ogunsanya, appreciated government efforts through the Safety Commission for convening the meeting noting however that the state has always engaged private school owners in their policies and programmes. She said “we are interested to know the expectations of the Commission before the safety auditors visit schools because we don’t want to run schools that are not safe”. According to her, starting a school shows a passion for children in the first place therefore their safety should not be compromised. Dr Ogunsanya said “we operate in a fraudulent environment; therefore we have to protect ourselves and need to have the identity of the safety auditors when they come to do their inspections and appealed for leniency in the charges for the safety certificatio]]>

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