FG to engage hunters, vigilantes in Safe Schools Initiative

The National Coordinator of the Financing Safe Schools Initiative, Mrs Halima Iliya, has revealed plans to engage hunters and vigilantes in intelligence gathering to curb attacks on schools nationwide. Iliya in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, noted the importance of community engagement and student, parent, and teacher sensitisation, set to commence in the second quarter of the year. She outlined strategies to train local vigilantes and youths in states without registered vigilantes, aiming to involve communities in intelligence gathering and prevention efforts. 'As a component of the plan, for states with local vigilantes, we intend to train their hunters, vigilantes and volunteers while for states without registered vigilantes we intend to advocate to use youths. 'Youths will volunteer to protect their communities because we cannot achieve anything within a community without their involvement. 'We will bring them to the security architecture for them to defend and protect t heir communities in the areas of intelligence gathering, prevention and detection deterrent capabilities,' Iliya said. She added that plans include leveraging the National Orientation Agency's grassroots presence for efficient communication through training manuals in local dialects. Dr Ahmed Audi, Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, stressed the importance of coordination among security agencies to protect schools effectively. 'That is why the three Cs; coordination, cooperation and collaboration cannot be over emphasised as this has yielded results amongst security agencies in recent operations so I think we are on the right track,' he said. According to Audi, because the NSCDC regulates the operations of Private Guard Companies (PGCs), they have been leveraged on to contribute their quota to the security architecture of the country by providing intelligence reports. The Corps, along with other agencies, is committed to ensuring school safety through initiatives such as the School Community Security Vanguard. The National Safe School Response Coordination Centre (NSSRCC) Commander, Hameed Abodunrin, highlighted ongoing sensitisation efforts to raise awareness about school security risks. 'Research has shown that the fear of insecurity is worse than insecurity itself,' he said. According to him, plans also include conducting School Security Awareness training and distributing security tips books to students nationwide. Source: News Agency of Nigeria