By Ese Awhotu Abuja
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu has stressed the urgent need to protect education from attacks, pointing out that without access to quality learning, the children are not only being deprived of education; they are also being robbed of future opportunities which will affect the entire society.
The Minister expressed concern over the systematic destruction and targeting of education, noting that over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the last nine years. In the same vein, an estimated 1,500 schools have been destroyed since 2014, with over 1,280 casualties among teachers and students, thereby devastating the school system, he said.
Mallam Adamu Adamu made the revelation in his keynote address at an Inception Workshop for Review of the Legal Framework on the Safe School Declaration; an initiative for Protection of Education from Attack in Nigeria yesterday which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Education with support from its Development Partners at the Bolton White Hotel, Abuja.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Arch. Sonny Echono stressed that the idea that education can and should continue during and despite conflict was not evident for many people, especially compared to basic life- saving services such as medical assistance, shelter, food or water and sanitation.
He said that by joining Nigeria in the struggle to address the challenge, the Partners have committed to undertake common-sense steps to make it less likely that students, teachers and schools will be attacked, and to mitigate the negative consequences when such attacks occur.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Director of Education Support Services, Mrs Justina Ibe who represented the Permanent Secretary, said there was need to develop a sound legal framework to ensure proper implementation of the Safe School Initiatives for protecting schools from attacks.
According to him, the workshop was meant to formally inform stakeholders about the legal review research study on the protection of education from attack and to interact and share experiences with countries that have implemented the Safe School Declaration.
Officials were invited from some federal government educational institutions that have been victims of attack by insurgents to give detail account of how the attacks were carried out on their institutions.
Representatives of International Development Partners and other organizations presented goodwill messages at the occasion, expressing their commitment to the declaration to protect education from attack.
The organizations include: Head UK Department for International Development in Nigeria; Country Director, Plan International Nigeria ;
Nigeria Country Director ,Save the Children and the Country Representative of the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Others were the representatives of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as the Nigerian Union of Teachers.