Gordon Brown, UN special envoy for global education has unveiled a project to enhance security in Nigerian schools as part of efforts to prevent a repeat of the abduction of over 234 girls from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, by Insurgent members.
Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, Brown, disclosed that Nigerian business leaders have contributed an initial $10 million for the scheme, which would be practiced first in 500 schools that have had repeated insurgent violence since 2009 in northern Nigeria.
“We cannot stand by and see schools shut down, girls cut off from their education and parents in fear of their daughters’ lives” Brown said.
“The education system that has the potential to transform Nigeria cannot be undermined. The Safe School Initiative will put Nigeria on track to help more and more girls and boys go to school and learn.
“The thoughts and prayers of the whole world are with Nigeria’s abducted girls and their parents as they face their fourth week in captivity” he said.
The former British prime minister while speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa, said the project would identify and target the most at-risk schools, local communities, security services and the children as well.
“In time, school security guards and police would be introduced and measures such as rapid response plans worked out to react to threats or actual attacks on educational establishments” he said. “This initiative is part of our work to give every girl and boy in Nigeria the opportunity to go to school. In the year 2014 every boy and girl should be at school and no one should be prevented from an education”.
The UN envoy is slated to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan this week to discuss an international plan for what he said was “the largest school expansion in the country’s history to get out-of-school children into school”.
Brown hinted that the president will also receive a petition with more than 400,000 signatures calling on Nigeria to create safe schools.
It would be recalled that two days ago insurgent members in a video clip threatened to sell over 234 kidnapped school girls as slave brides, a declaration which has however, provoked international outrage.
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