Written by Godfrey AKON

UNICEF partners defence ministry on schools safety

v dir="auto" id="m_8469963573333626464yMail_cursorElementTracker_1599241532210">The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, says it is partnering Ministries of Education, Defence and Humanitarian Affairs on its response to education emergencies and schools safety.




UNICEF's Education Officer  responsible for Education in Emergencies Coordination at National level, Judith Giwa-Amu, said the Ministry of Defence has a great role to play in the countries of the world and in Nigeria.




Giwa-Amu spoke during an interview on the 2020 International Day for the Protection of Education which was commemorated in partnership with Save The Children Foundation, in Abuja.




The International Day For the Protection of Education is a day set aside to review and draw attention to the importance of protecting education, to ensure that a generation of children are saved.




"We realise that Ministries of Defence have a great role to play in countries of the world and in Nigeria; we know that education will not happen in some areas on the N/E if the military is not physically present. 




"However we see that with military forces, it changes the civilian nature of a school. We are looking for ways in which issues concerning school safety and security can be mainstreamed into their strategic documents for them to be able to handle the children and the school in a manner that their security is ensured," Giwa-Amu said.




The UNICEF official said safe school declaration has been signed by 104 countries, and Nigeria is among the 37 implementing countries.




According to her, the implementation guidelines are linked to the military and recognises their role as well as the need to support Education.




"Security, Education & Humanitarian sectors are key sectors that must be engaged by all countries to the safe school declaration, they have been identified as the major organs in charge of implementation of safe school declaration," she said.




Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi, noted that education is one of the most prized assets of a country as it provides the solid foundation for nation's growth and development. 




 Magashi's remarks which were contained in a statement released in Abuja,  said the survival and future of a nation is threatened when her education is under attack.




"Be it attack on the educational facilities, attack on the learners or educational personnel: abduction or sexual harrasment of the learners  or school personnel ; fircsd recruitment of learners or school personnel into armed group; attack on education is a crime against a nation.




"No nation can sleep in the event of continued attack on her education,likewise the Nigerian military shall not relent in our efforts to protect the integrity of Nigeria and ensure her continued existence and growth in safety  and security," he said. 




The minister pledged the Nigerian Army's committment to continue to make efforts to ensure that education is not stopped even in the face of conflicts, keeping in mind all necessary protocols and guidelines including Safe Schools Declaration.




He called on communities, groups and individuals to avail the military necessary cooperation as it continues to step up efforts towards protecting our national assets including education. 



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