Egbetokun’s Drive For A Safer Society
By Adewole Kehinde
“We need to be able to go to school and feel safe and accepted for who we are.” – Paul Scott
The safety of Nigerian schools and educational institutions is of key concern to IGP Kayode Egbetokun and the Nigeria Police Force, which will continue to use all available human and material resources to mitigate the heightened danger students, staff, and educational facilities/Institutions are exposed to in the country in recent times.
Recall that on July 31, 2023, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, announced the establishment of the Schools Protection Squad, a proactive initiative aimed at enhancing security and safety in educational institutions across Nigeria.
The Schools Protection Squad is a specialized unit within the Nigeria Police Force tasked with drawing up policies and engaging relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety and protection of students, teachers, and school infrastructure.
The squad will be equipped with relevant assets and advanced training to effectively respond to the security challenges facing educational institutions.
The protection squad is part of the IGP’s policy geared towards the security of lives and property, most especially the safety of schools and students.
As a follow-up to the launch of the Schools Protection Squad, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, officially launched the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Manual on Wednesday at the Abuja Continental Hotel, Abuja, to achieve safe schools and have a more focused and robust response to the existing challenge of constant attacks on educational institutions, culminating in the abduction of students in Nigeria.
On the occasion, the IGP Egbetokun noted that the Standard Operating Procedure manual on the Safe School initiative marks a significant stride towards achieving a safer and more secure educational environment for children.
The Standard Operating Procedure is a comprehensive road map that underscores Nigeria’s commitment to safeguarding the nation’s future by creating a secure, safe, and conducive learning environment for students.
IGP Egbetokun recalled that in the years past, the schools used to be the safest place for children, but since the country recorded the first incidence of school kidnapping in April 2014, criminal elements such as kidnapping and criminal activities such as kidnapping for ransom, banditry, terrorism, and cultism have continued to threaten the security of the educational institutions as well as the safety of schoolchildren.
He said that these challenges demand innovative, adaptive, and sustainable approaches to ensure the efficacy of Security efforts at ensuring the safety of all and sundry, particularly the young ones.
“The new approach is in line with our vision to evolve a police force that is well-positioned to respond appropriately and adequately to the dynamics of crimes and criminality in our contemporary society. Our commitment to safeguarding our schools and ensuring the unhindered pursuit of knowledge has led to the creation of this crucial manual. This manual outlines the meticulous procedures that will guide our law enforcement agencies. Educational institutions and communities should work towards a shared goal of safe and secure learning space, Egbetokun said.
He noted that the Nigerian Police Force, along with other stakeholders, has played an instrumental role in charting this road map to achieve the objectives of the National Plan on Safe Schools in Nigeria.
“One of the cornerstones of our commitment is the establishment of the school protection squad. This specialized unit comprises highly trained officers who would be deployed to every state across the country.
“These officers are not just protecting us; they are mentors, role models, and advocates for the safety of our students. Our dedication to addressing these multifaceted concerns underscores our unwavering commitment to fostering a safe and secure learning environment for all our students.
IGP Egbetokun added that school administrators play a pivotal role in setting the tone for security within institutions. Their commitment to implementing safety protocols and fostering a culture of vigilance is instrumental.
“Likewise, our educators, the teachers, are not only imparting knowledge but also acting as first responders in times of crisis. Their training and preparedness are critical to ensuring a swift and effective response. Let us all acknowledge the resilience of our students, who are the heart of this initiative.
“Their understanding of safety protocols and their ability to maintain calm under pressure are essential components of our efforts. By empowering our students with knowledge, we empower them to be active participants in their own safety.
Egbetokun stated clearly that the launch of the Standard Operating Procedure manual for the National Plan on the Safe School Initiative is a testament to the dedication, collaboration, and unwavering commitment to a secure learning environment for children.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., intelligence plus character is the goal of true education. IGP Egbetokun assured that the Police will diligently undertake the responsibility of safeguarding educational institutions against potential harms and threats and urged all stakeholders to support the Federal Government, the Police, and other partners for the achievement of the initiative.
I call on all relevant stakeholders to support the Inspector-General of Police in actively participating and supporting the initiative for the safety and general well-being of our educational assets in Nigeria.
With the launch of the Schools Protection Squad, Nigeria can build a robust education system that guarantees a secure and conducive learning environment for every child.
I will end this write-up with the words of John Dewey, who says, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”.
Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached at 08166240846 or email@example.com