Governments, school administrations undecided about water-tight security in schools
A former Assistant Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) and Managing Director of Zoom Lens Security, a private intelligence firm, Dennis Amachree, told ODITA SUNDAY that it was high time governments at various levels pay serious attention to the security of children in schools and to stop paying lip service or politicising issues.
Attacks and abduction of students by Boko Haram have continued and there is a consensus that the Federal Government has not done enough to protect schools in the volatile North East and North West. How bad can things get in northern schools?
The Federal Government as well as states across the country have not done enough to put in place, or to guarantee safer schools. The Chibok Girls abduction would have served as a heads-up for these governments, but very sad to observe that the incidents are being politicised.
Many fear the sustained attacks on educational institutions would definitely lower interest in education among girls. Do you also believe that interest in education among young women would wane?
Yes the interest in education by girls in that part of the country will wane, and girl-child education would suffer at the end of the day. But let me point out that some young girls in the North have always had interest in education. These state governments need to encourage the enrollment of more girls in schools across the religious spectrum if they hope to develop beyond where they are.
You confirmed that it does appear that lessons were not learnt from the Chibok Girls’ abduction episode, is this the reason violent crimes, including kidnapping and abduction have continued to spread across the country?
Like I mentioned earlier, the Chibok incident should have given the country a heads-up in schools’ security. So you can see that besides the North East, kidnapping/abduction of schoolchildren have continued to spread to other parts of the country, even up to Lagos State in the South West.
Since violent attacks are becoming commonplace in schools across the country, what immediate steps should be taken to nip them in the bud?
Unfortunately, violent attacks in schools have been trending worldwide. Remember the recent shooting in a Parkland, Florida school in the United States? These events have triggered a review of school security across the United State and Nigeria should not left out, but the school administration’s and governments are half-hearted about schools security. What we need is to put in place standard security measures in schools across the country in such a way that potential attackers would be deterred from trying anything.
Many are of the view that negotiating with terrorists emboldens them the more. Consequently, they prefer the government frontally attacking and decimating the criminals. Which of these actions do you endorse?
The government must stand firm if it has to propagate a policy of non-negotiation with terrorists. That non-negotiation policy must be upheld and supported by a strong intervention force that will track terrorist groups to their hideouts and rescue the victims, with minimal collateral damage. If the terrorists know that the government will not negotiate, they will look for other means of raising their funds. Don’t forget that whenever an individual, company or government pays ransom, they embolden the terrorists.
Porous borders are a let rather than a hindrance to terrorists swinging positions at will after committing heinous crimes. How much of a disincentive is this to the fight against insurgence in the country?
That the Nigeria borders are porous is not news. The problem is that subsequent governments did nothing about it. So also the present government. Our efforts at effective border protection have been very poor over the years. Besides criminals and terrorists traversing the border, cattle readers and other traders freely cross the borders without any hindrance.
What do you make of a technically defeated Boko Haram springing surprising and embarrassing the Federal Government from time-to-time?
In December 2015, I said that “technically defeating Boko Haram” does not make any sense when the Chibok girls are still in captivity. The right thing to do is to remove politics and propaganda from all these and do the needful by bringing back all our abducted schoolchildren.
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