The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Thursday said the use of schools for shelter by security agencies had made schools vulnerable to attacks by non-state actors.

This is just as the military recommended self-defence training for students who are the biggest victims of banditry and kidnapping.

The minister who was represented by the Director, Education Support Service, Giginna Ifeyinwa, spoke at the pre- Conference Briefing of the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration and launch of the SSD security manuals.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Defence with the theme ‘Making Commitments a Reality: Towards the Abuja Conference.’

He said, “The Nigerian Education system has been experiencing insecurity and violence such as kidnapping, abduction, maiming and killing of children and teachers, among others.

“The use of schools for sheltering purpose, 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 North-West 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 traumatised due to the school attacks and are refusing to go to schools for fear of being killed or abducted.”

The Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (retd.) said the education sector had been one of the worst hit since Boko Haram began launching attacks in the country.

He promised that the Armed Forces would ensure a peaceful learning environment.

“The impact of criminality on education in Nigeria is very huge considering that without a secure environment, parents will be unwilling to send their children to schools.

“The ideology of Boko Haram is centred on the abolition of western education. To this end, the education sector remains one of the worst hit areas since 2009.

“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.”

Offering solutions on how to end the scourge, the Commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, said there was a need for students to be given self-defence training.

Daji added, “I 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 plan should also include self-defence and personal safety drills for pupils and children in our schools.”

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