THE Lagos State government and private school owners in the state have said they are taking proactive steps to prevent kidnappers from raiding their schools.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho and the leadership of various private school associations, including the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), League of Muslim School Proprietors (LEAMSP) and the Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED), gave this position in separate interviews with the Nigerian Tribune.
They pledged that they had put up many security measures in and around respective schools to prevent invaders.
In Lagos State, according to findings, it is rare to see any school either public or private, especially in the metropolis that is not fenced round and gated.
Our correspondent, who moved around some parts of the metropolis including Ifako-Ijaiye, Agege, Alimosho, Kosofe and Ikeja local government areas observed this trend.
Omotosho said the government is not limiting provision of adequate and effective security measures to public schools alone, but also factored in private schools and other institutions and establishments down to every street in the state.
He recalled that kidnappers attacked some schools in the state a couple of years back and abducted students and explained that the state would not wait for a repeat of such incident before taking steps.
He said though government would not want to reveal some of the mechanisms put in place on the pages of newspapers, he assured parents and students and all the people of the state that government would not relax to allow any school in the state to fall prey to kidnappers.
Also on their part, president of NAPPS in Lagos State, Mr Olawale Mohammed and that of AFED at the national level, Mr Emmanuel Orji and the chairman of LEAMP in Lagos State, Mr Fatai Raheem, said all their schools are either fenced round or in an existing enclosure.
They said the trend, with at least a private security officials on the ground, is one of the prerequisites to secure government approval for operation in the state.
They said, in addition to this, some of them, particularly with boarding facilities, also have CCTV camera installed to monitor people’s movement in and around their schools including at night.
“We also constantly remind our teachers, school bus drivers, other school workers and parents of our students to be more security-conscious and report any suspicious movement without delay to school authorities for further action as we believe that security is everyone’s business,” the NAPPS boss added.
Making reference to the stakeholders’ meeting they had with the state ministry of education, in conjunction with the state’s safety commission, neigbourhood safety agency and the state emergency agency recently, they said the forum was centred mainly on safety of schools.
“So, we are all working together for the safety of not only the students and teachers and other school workers but of all the people of Lagos State,” AFED’s Orji stressed.
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