đź””Nigeria, Norway, UNESCO, Others ON Safe Schools Declaration

Migeria expresses commitment to safe schools declaration and the formal launch in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari , represented by Chief of staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari while Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwjuiba speaks on behalf of Mallam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education

Please find speeches below:

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MUHAMMADU BUHARI GCFR, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE OPENING
CEREMONY 4TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SAFE SCHOOLS
DECLARATION, 26TH OCTOBER 2021, ECOWAS SECRETARIAT, ABUJA.

PROTOCOL

I am indeed pleased and honoured to present this keynote address on this Occasion of 4th International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration which has the theme: “Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice
In recent times, all over the world, there has been a myriad of persistent attacks on education and Nigeria is also having its own fair share of these attacks.

The incessant attacks on the country’s education system such as kidnapping, abduction of pupils/students, increased activities of insurgence and general insecurity in our schools have exacerbated many factors responsible for the growing number of Out-of-School
Children.

It is no longer news that at will, bandits, kidnappers and terrorists invade our
educational facilities to abduct the learners in large numbers. Some places that have been hit by these menace include Chibok, Dapchi, Buni Yadi, Afaka, kagora, and Jangebe
in Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states respectively.

It is disheartening to
note that even when the abducted students are released the trauma of the incidences remain long in their minds hence the plan to have teachers trained on psycho-social support.

You may wish to know that the first known abduction of school children in Nigeria took place in 2014, when 276 girls were taken from the Government Secondary School Chibok,
Borno State, north-east Nigeria. Since then, attacks on schools and abductions of students have grown in number and spread across the northern part of the country.

Permit me to share with you a report released by S.B Morgen which revealed that a total of 1,462 learners and education personnel were abducted between 1st December 2019
and September 2021 in school-related abductions as well as home and community- related abductions of Learners and teachers.

The highest number of abduction in a single kidnap (327 learners) was recorded in Zamfara while Kaduna has experienced the greatest number of incidences of attack on
education. Out of 19 educational institutions attacked, 12 representing 63%, were secondary schools while 5 which represented 26% were within the tertiary educational
system.

Non-formal education was not spared from attack as about 200 students of
Islamiyya School, Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State were reportedly

abducted on Sunday on the 30th of May 2021: sadly the life of one learner was los. A total of 17 lives of teachers and learners have been lost in these abductions. On the other hand, for learners currently in school the fear and trauma created by having their fellow students and friends attacked, has impacted negatively on the quality
of schooling as concentration and attention span for learning in such conditions have certainly waned School closures due to abductions and security issues have impacted out of school and the wider implication of the foregoing is that of a generation of
negatively on our education system.

There are more than 12 million children currently children traumatized and afraid of going to school especially the girl child.

I must tell you that it has been tough dealing with these security challenges and their effect. Moving forward, our faith in the nation is unshaken. We have been strong, determined and robust in order to enhance the security of learning institutions and the
occupants therein.

Our resolve and will to take the nation to greater heights remains
strong. Your excellences, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Nigerian Government is mindful of the fact that to record adequate achievements in the education sector, the system would require a total overhaul in the following key areas:

Provision of a safe and secured environment for learners and Teachers:
il Availability of professional teachers:
Proximity of schools to pupils/students,
Strong political will on the part of government to invest in education, and
Provision for adequate funding mechanism.

iv. The declaration of education as a fundamental human right by the United Nations (UN) in 1948, has placed on us a duty of the compulsory education of every citizen.

To draw attention to safeguarding education, the UN in 2020, has gone further to set aside 9th September every year as the international Day to Protect
Education from Attacks. This means that no matter the circumstances, education
must be protected at all cost from all forms of attacks.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to reaffirm that government has the primary responsibility of protecting and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels for all learners, especially those in vulnerable situations.

The Nigerian Government is not unmindful of this fact. This explains why Nigeria was part of the first group of 37 countries that endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD)
in 29th May, 2015 and the letter of endorsement was signed on 8th March, 2018.

As a nation, we are committed to observing all relevant international protocols, conventions and treaties for the protection of our learning institutions and facilities from attack
and any other instrument on education which the country has domesticated.

The Nigerian Government is highly committed to prioritizing safety in schools to protect investments in the education sector which would validate the endorsement of the Safe
Schools Declaration (an inter-governmental political agreement that outlines a set of commitments to strengthen the protection of education from attacks and restrict the
use of schools and universities for military purposes).

To this effect, the highest decision making body in education in Nigeria -the National Council for Education (NCE) in its recently concluded session in Jalingo, Taraba State (9th- 13th August 2021) approved the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-
Free Schools and its Implementation Guidelines and the minimum standards for safe schools as reference documents for all Education Stakeholders and took major positive
decisions on:

a. issues of security and violence and its negative effects on enrolment, retention
and completion rate:

b. training of teachers on psycho-social support and allocation of certain percentage of deployed Federal Teachers Scheme (FTS) and N-Power teachers to the IDP
camps;

c. provision of adequate security and protection for teachers in tertiary institutions
in the communities that are prone to crises;

d. advocacy and sensitization programmes to enhance the implementation of Safe
Schools Declaration (SSD), appointment of SSD Desk Officers and capacity
building programmes for them based on the peculiarities in their domains; and
e capacity building on safety and security to mitigate the incidence of casualties among teachers and intended provision of hazard allowances and life assurance for effective discharge of their duties.

My esteemed participants, I will like to state that at the 64th National Council on
Education meeting held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Council approved the
implementation of the education in Emergency Curriculum for the Basic Education level.

In line with this, the Ministry organized workshops on Education in Emergency
preparedness response for teachers in the Federal Unity Colleges and also launched the Education Radio (a radio and television programme on air for terminal classes in Post-
basic schools which runs from Monday to Friday).

The Federal Government has also
committed a lot funds to mitigate the impact of COVID 19 and for the training of Principals and Head teachers of junior secondary and primary schools to acquire skills on COVID-19 protocols to stem the rate of infection.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we hold this Conference the first of its kind to be hosted on the African continent, it is a very great opportunity to share good practices in protecting education from attack and for the world to see how far Nigeria
has gone in the implementation of the SSD.

Nigeria has been able to systematically develop strategies and mechanisms to protect education with the help of the SSD framework. The developed and approved policy on Safety, Security and Violence-Free Schools will serve as a response document to the
needs of children and the violence that affects them in and around schools. In addition,
we have identified and put mechanisms in place to address all kinds of hazards that
affect the wellbeing of learners, teachers, school users and the school community to
ensure the safety and security of schools in Nigeria. The developed Minimum Standards
for Safe Schools will communicate the mechanisms to be put in place by all schools to
address all kinds of hazards and violence for the continuation of schooling at all times.
Also, the developed SSD Trainer’s Guide and participants’ manuals are currently being
used for the training of the security agencies and human rights organizations on the
protection of education. In the situation that we have found ourselves as a nation,
endorsing the SSD has charted a practical pathway in safeguarding the right to
education in our context. We therefore urge the remaining Member States of UN to
quickly endorse the Declaration in course of this Conference, to make all our learning institutions safe abodes for learners.

The theme: “Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice” urges
the 111 SSD endorsing states (a significant majority of the UN Member States) to redouble their efforts in providing safe environment for teaching and learning process to take place.

The theme further calls for universal endorsement of the Declaration and
charges the SSD non-endorsing states to make the move immediately to safeguard their education systems. As you are aware, attacks on schools equally are direct attacks on
our future generations.

It is my belief that this Conference will go a long way to showcasing the Country’s achievements with the support of Education in Emergencies Working Group (EiEWGN) and the relevant Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working in Nigeria.

Let me therefore assure you that the Government, relevant security agencies, Education in Emergencies Working Group in Nigeria (EiEWGN), and all the relevant stakeholders will continue to work for the promotion of the objectives of this conference, to end
attacks on education and to ensure a safe and enabling learning environment.

Thanks for listening!

WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER
EDUCATION, ADAMU ADAMU AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE FOURTH
(4TH) INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SAFE SCHOOLS DECLARATION AT-
ECOWAS SECRETARIAT, ABUJA, NIGERIA ON MONDAY, 25TH OCTOBER, 2021.

PROTOCOLS

I am highly delighted to welcome you all to the Fourth international
conference on Safe Schools Declaration with the theme “Ensuring Safe
Education for All: From Commitment to Practice” to be explored through
various Sub-themes in three Panels of discussion and two sessions.

The Safe School Declaration was championed by Norway and
Argentina through a consultative process that paved way for calls for its
endorsement. I am happy to recall that Nigeria was among the first 37
Member states of UN that endorsed the Safe School Declaration in 2015.

Presently about 111 Member States have endorsed and keyed into the
Declaration.

It is also important to note that this is the first time the Conference
on Safe Schools Declaration is being held on the African continent with
the previous ones held in Oslo, Norway in 2015, Buenos Aires, Argentina in
2017 and Palma de Mallorca, Spain in 2019.

Accordingly, the objective of the conference is to build on
experiences from the previous ones, highlight’ progress made by
espective countries on the implementation of the Declaration’s
ommitments, share best practices and deliberate on challenges to
Improve the relevant approaches that would enhance the protection of
learners, education personnel and educational institutions.

As you are aware, most countries of the world are facing the
challenges of attacks on their educational systems and Nigeria is not
spared of this global menace. In Nigeria it started in the North East in
Borno state to be precise but gradually it continued to spread to darsawa,
Yobe, Zamfara, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, Katsina, with minor infiltrations
to other states in the federation.

The scenario in Nigeria has not been palatable in recent times. On
February 25, 2014, fifty-nine boys were massacred at the Federal
Government College of Buni Yadi in Yobe State, Nigeria. The twenty four
buildings of the school were also burnt down as a result of the attack. No
group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but according to media and
local officials, the Islamist militants Boko Haram are suspected to be
behind the attack.

In another less than two months, to be precise, on April 14, 2014, 276 female students aged between 16 and 18 were kidnapped by
Boko Haram insurgents from Government Girls Secondary School Chibol in Borno State while writing final exams in Physics, Security efforts led to
the release of some while 100 were withheld. Another Government Girl
Science Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, Yobe state was attacked o
Monday, February 19, 2018. All abductees were later released except the
14-year-old Leah Sharibu who was allegedly married off.

Then again, December 11, 2020, 303 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina state were taken into captivity and released after one week.

Permit me to say that the perpetrators didn’t relent as they
continued even in quicker successions in 2021 despite heightened security
measures. On Wednesday, February 17, 2021 they struck again at the
Government Science College Kagara, Shiroro Local Government Area of
Niger State, abducting 27 students.

Another attack followed in February
26, 2021, when 317 school girls from Government Girls Science
Secondary School Jangebe in Zamfara State were abducted, On March
11,2021, 39 students were abducted from College of Forestry, Afaka,
Kaduna state. On April 20,2021, another 20 students and two staff
from Greenfield University Kaduna State, were abducted, three of the
students were killed.

On May 30, 2021, in Niger state, an Islamiyah (Muslim) school was invaded and about 100 school children were
kidnapped. By June 17, 2021, it was Federal Government College, Birnin
Yauri in Kebbi State, where unspecified number of students and four
teachers were abducted by gunmen suspected to be bandits. A policeman
who repelled the attack was killed.

The list appears to be endless and reoccurring. Most of these
abducted students were released after ransom was allegedly paid, some
were killed and others who were rescued or survived in most cases, became
traumatized.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the hosing of this Conference
in Nigeria therefore is apt and timely in view of the above prevailing
security challenges. It is my belief that the outcome of this Conference
will help to strengthen and protect the educational system here in Nigeria
and be a win for not just Nigeria but for the global community as well.

It is my utmost belief that in the course of the Conference, Nigeria
will be able to leverage on the best practices in implementing the safe
schools Declaration, see how new opportunities of collaborations could be
utilized to set up preventive measures and provide response mechanisms
capable of having devastating effect on education if not checked.

Ladies and gentlemen, once again, I welcome you all to the city of Abuja.
Have a fulfilling deliberations to ensure that our school climate is safe for
teaching and learning
Thanks for your kind attention!