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Schools, Churches Adopt Security Measures To Tackle Child Theft

Public-School-Children-7-CopyIT is holiday period for children whose schools are closed after a full academic session. But one major challenge for many parents is the prevailing trending child theft in some states of the federation.

While some of the children take full advantage of their long holiday and get busy in the summer lessons in coaching centres in their neigbhourhood or churches like the one organised by Deeper Life Bible Church, Mafoluku, majority of them who their parents cannot afford the cost are allowed to play one game or the other on the streets.

However, there seems palpable apprehension over the safety of these children, as they bask in the euphoria of their freedom from the four walls of their schools, where they spend most part of their time studying. The Guardian investigation showed that some private school authorities in Lagos, having apparently weighed the consequence of the development on their businesses in terms of reputation have taken pragmatic steps to convince the parents on the safety of their children and beefed up security in their schools. Visits to some schools and churches in Lagos on Wednesday showed that many of the private schools have put in place security measures to ensure the safety of the children while they are within their premises and under their care.

Despite the measures, some of the parents, The Guardian discovered are skeptical about leaving their children in schools where there seems to be no adequate security. Some parents, on the other handy instruct their driver or domestic help to wait for their child or children till closing time. According to a teacher at Molly Montessori School, Ajao Estate, Isolo, Lagos, who pleaded anonymity, the school policy is that no other person apart from the parent of a child or children drop and pick them from the school, adding that the school management has further beefed up security measures within and around the school.

She said, “The security in this school is so much beefed up to the extent that even parents cannot just take away their children without the consent of the school management. The school management, strictly monitor the going-on in and around the school. The school has a good working relationship with the police; they come here from time to time to ensure we are safe.” “The school gate is beefed up with uniformed security personnel drawn from a private outfit and constant patrol of the Nigeria police, which divisional headquarters is just three streets away,” she added.

At Halifield Schools, Maryland, Lagos, the high level of security consciousness from the gate says it all, as visitors or intruders are not permitted to enter into the premises without any previous appointment. According to a management member of the school, Mrs. Okafor, the school’s management is always intact with its security efforts and this guarantees the safety of the students while in the school.

When asked what the security strategies the school has put in place to check intrusion, Okafor said she could not disclose such strategy for security purpose, but explained that Halifield school’s effort on security is unquantifiable. The Guardian’s checks showed that the school’s premises are under close monitoring by CCTVs. At Sunnyside School, Palmgrove Estate, Palmgrove, Lagos, it was gathered that the management of the school has also taken its security consciousness a notch higher and do not accept students taken out of the school compound by unfamiliar faces.

For Daystar Christian Centre, parents are only allowed to bring children to the lift entrance, where some designated teachers in the children ministry/church take them to their classes. This prevents unknown and unfamiliar faces coming close to the children. According to a member of the church, who simply gave her name as Kemi, every volunteer worker in the church including the children undergo the leadership class series, where they are screened and interviewed before being assigned to a department.

“You don’t just come into the church and become a worker; you pass through a process, where you are known, screened and interviewed. In Daystar, if you are not one of the teachers in the children ministry, you can’t go into the classes. This tells you how much value we place on the security of our children while in church,” she said.

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