ADAMU Adamu, Nigeria’s Minister of Education says the Federal Government is committed to protection of schools and learning centres across the country from violence and all forms of attacks.
The Minister in a statement by Ben Bem Goong, Ministry of Education, Public Relations Officer, to commemorate this year International Day for the Protection of Education from Attack, decried the abduction of Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu and other learners and teachers at places of learning as an infringement on their rights to quality education.
In 2014, 219 Chibok schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from the school in Chibok community, Borno State. While six of the girls were reported dead, a total of 112 of them are still missing with 101 rescued so far.
While calling for their immediate release by their abductors, he stated that the protection of learners, teaching and non-teaching personnel, schools and learning centres from all forms of attacks was an obligation of government and all relevant stakeholders.
He appealed to armed groups holding abducted students and teachers to release the captives, who he described as innocent casualties of armed insurgency.
While acknowledging that schools and other learning facilities in different locations in the country had over the years been subjects of attacks by parties in conflicts and communal clashes especially Boko Haram, bandits, thugs and unknown individuals and groups, Adamu stressed the need for all stakeholders to appreciate and observe the sanctity of learning centres.
The Minister stated that Nigeria is committed to observing all existing international protocols on education and freedom of learning as well as child rights to quality education in a protective environment.
He noted that Nigeria is signatory to most of the existing global and continental instruments on education and child rights, just as he recalled that the country has domesticated most of the instruments at the national level and integrated some others into our national laws and policies.
“As a nation, we are committed to observing all relevant international conventions for the protection of schools and learning centres and facilities from attack,” Adamu said.
“We recognize the inter-dependencies of several conventions, treaties and other instruments that would make this possible.”
“Nigeria is a signatory to many of these instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); Convention against Discrimination in Education (CADE); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, among others.”
Recalling that Nigeria was one of the first countries to endorse the Safe School Declaration in 2015, Adamu said the country is committed to and is making efforts at developing clear and enforceable guidelines that will guarantee the protection of schools and learning centres from attacks.
“One of the areas we have taken steps at ensuring the protection of schools from attack is the proposed amendment to the Armed Forces Act. We are doing this through the Nigerian Education in Emergency (EiE) Working Group. When passed, the amended |aw, would end the use of schools by the armed forces and would help to prevent attacks on education by opposing armed groups, and limit disruptions to students’ learning.”
The minister called on different parties in conflicts across the country, to observe the sanctity of learning centres and facilities.
He also called on communities to take ownership of the protection of schools in their environments as they remain the first point of contact with the school as well as first-line responders in the event of attack.