Defence Ministry to fortify schools against attacks

Press Release 4th March

The Ministry of Defence is fast-tracking the protection of its educational institutions as required by the Safe Schools Declaration of the United Nations.

The Minister of Defence General Bashir Salihi Magashi represented by the Permanent Secretary Musa Istifanus made the declaration in a meeting with the Education In Emergencies Working Group held at the Conference room in the Ship House, Abuja.

Musa Istifanus pointed out that the Ministry is taking all measures to protect students, teachers, schools and universities under it as a result of recent attacks on schools in the country.

“Our Children are our own very future, and must be prepared towards taking over from us. And of course it is worrisome that we have about 13 million children out of school and in future, these kids will have to have means of livelihood and it’s not later but now that we have start up on them. ” he advised.

The Representative of the Defence Minister noted that Nigerians and the Civil Society in particular should be fair to the Nigerian Military while making comments on the efforts of government on security so as not to harm the sensibilities and psyche of men and officers in the frontline.
He stressed that the military is not against criticism but only appreciates constructive criticism for the success of its operations.

He tasked the communities to support the Military through understanding and support with credible intelligence reports.

The Director, Education Services Department, Mrs. Afolake Taiwo had told the Meeting that the Education In Emergencies Working Group was in the Ministry to advocate for mainstreaming of the Safe schools Declaration which Nigeria signed for membership in 2019 and is being honoured to host the fourth international conference of Program.

Mrs. Taiwo described the the Declaration as an international organisation that seeks political commitment to protect students, teachers and educational institutions against attacks from Armed conflict. The Director said the declaration was developed through consultation with Nations in a process started in 2015 via an open endorsement at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools.

The Senior Policy and Strategy advisor of Global Coalition to protecting Education from attacks Madam Abiola Sanusi who commended the Nigerian Armed Forces Personnel and currently teaching in IDPs noted that the hosting rights of the 4th international Conference was given to Nigeria because of the political commitment of the Federal Government and the will to carry on against all odds being faced by the education sector.

She charged the Defence Ministry to be ready for the world as all eyes are now on her in the continent due to the current situation in schools.
The meeting was attended by the Director of Press and Public Relations of the Ministry.

Highlights of the meeting was the presentation of literatures on Guide for implementation of the Declaration and roles of communities in protecting schools among others.

Nigeria is expected while hosting the conference,to sensitize the citizenry and especially Stakeholders in ensuring quality programmes and safe and conducive environment for schools, teachers, and students.

Kabir Isa Bala
For: Director Press & PR