Egbetokun launches SOP on safe schools in Nigeria initiative

The Acting Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun has launched the Standard Operating Procedure, SOP, manual for Schools Protection Squad.

At a workshop on the Safe Schools Initiative for Strategic Police Managers on Wednesday at Abuja, Egbetokun enumerated some of the strategies to be employed by the Nigeria Police Force in the achievement of the mandate of the School Protection Squad.

Credible News reports that the launch follows the recent establishment of SPS, a high-profile special unit for the protection of schools and educational institutions across the country.

A statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi disclosed that SOP manual is a comprehensive document that provides clear guidelines for the smooth operationalization of SPS.

Adejobi noted that the manual spells out the organizational framework of the unit, procedures for mobilization, and code of conduct for officers assigned to the unit. It equally provides procedures for collaboration with other security agencies to ensure a coordinated approach in tackling threats to schools and educational institutions.

He noted that the strategies include the generation of information and development of intelligence, community policing partnerships, police-public cooperation, inter-agency collaboration, security and administration of Internally Displaced Persons, deployment of logistic assets, humanitarian services, as well as training for school managers/teachers and members of the host communities on their roles in emergency situations.

The statement added that the IGP, while noting that the initiative will commence with 18 pilot states which are more vulnerable, including the Federal Capital Territory assured that the Police will diligently undertake the responsibility of safeguarding educational institutions against potential harms and threats,

Egbetokun urged all stakeholders to support the Federal Government, the Police, and other partners for the achievement of the initiative.

Similarly, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, promised that the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will give special attention to the safety and security of students and schools in the country.

Ribadu, at a strategic forum on achieving safer schools organised by the Nigeria Police Force on Wednesday in Abuja, said: “Undoubtedly, education has always been the cornerstone of progress in any society and as we strive to build a prosperous country for the future of our children and the generation yet unborn, it is critical that we prioritise the safety and security of our educational institutions at all levels”.

The programme which was themed: “Imperative for a safer teaching and learning environment for the future of Nigeria’s national development: the need for national collective action” was aimed at strengthening synergy amongst security agencies towards tackling the myriads of security challenges including mass kidnapping in schools within the country.

Ribadu assured that Tinubu has pledged to work with both State and Local Government authorities to reform and retool the nation’s educational system by giving special attention to security of schools as well as providing welfare and training of teachers and students.

He stressed on the impact the invasion of schools by bandits and other armed persons has on school enrolment in the country, especially in the northern region.

He further tasked all the security agencies in the country on the need for intelligence gathering and sharing to curb the menace.

The IGP, who was the host of the programme, reiterated that the Tinubu administration is determined to protect students and give them safe learning environment.

Others present at the event include the Chief Of Defense Staff, Maj-Gen C G Musa represented By Air Vice Marshal A.V. Ndache; the Chief Of Army Staff Maj Gen Taoreed Lagbaja; the Chief Of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla represented by Commodore S.M Ahmed; the Chief Of Air Staff, Air Marshall Hassan Abubakar represented by Brig Gen G.O Esho.

Credible News reports that mass abduction of students by bandits was one of the major security challenges that confronted the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari.

In February 2021, bandits abducted over 300 schoolgirls in Jangebe in Zamfara State. In the same month, bandits kidnapped dozens of students and workers of Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State.

In 2020, bandits abducted over 300 schoolboys from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State. Aside from Jangebe, Kankara and Kagara, non-state actors previously abducted hundreds of secondary school girls from Chibok, in Borno State; and Dapchi in Yobe State.

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