BY AGATHA OGBONNAYA – Ahead of the International Day for the protection of Education, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has identified the pivotal role of the military in ensuring that schools are being secured.
The Education Officer UNICEF, Judith Giwa-Amu, who revealed this in an interview section with Journalists in Abuja, said that education would not happen in some areas of the North-East if the military was not physically present.
Giwa-Amu said there was need for issues concerning school safety and security to be mainstreamed into the military strategic document.
She said that this is to enable them handle the children and the school in a manner that their security is ensured.
According to Giwa-Amu; “Specifically when Education is attacked, educational asset, being human lives, talking about children, teachers, non-teaching personnel. When they are attacked, beyond the fact that their lives are truncated, their lives are affected in one way or the other, those that are not physically attacked, they have psyco-social effect that can affect them and prevent them from continuing education trajectory.”
Forefront gathered that the International Day For the protection of Education which is celebrated every September 9, is a day set aside to review and draw attention on the importance of protecting education, to ensure that a generation of children are saved.
Also, the safe school declaration has been signed by the 104 countries with Nigeria among the 37 implementing countries.
In the implementation guidelines, it is linked to the military and recognises their role and the need to support Education.
UNICEF, therefore, noted that the security, education and humanitarian sectors are the 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.
Also speaking, the Minister of Defence, Major General Basher Magashi, said that the Nigerian military will not relent towards ensuring that education is not stopped even in the face of conflicts.
Magashi called on communities, groups and individuals to avail the Ministry all necessary cooperation.
He further said; “It is in our togetherness that we shall protect education from all forms of attack and save a generation”.