Poor network delayed response in Kaduna, Ekiti abductions – Commander

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The Commander of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Hammed Abodunrin, on Sunday, blamed the poor network for delayed security response during the Kaduna and Ekiti schoolchildren abductions.

Abodunrin disclosed this to our correspondent on Sunday.

The Safe School Response is an initiative of the Federal Government in response to increasing cases of attacks on schools by bandits.

The National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre was established by the Federal Government on February 23, 2023, and saddled with the responsibility of coordinating safety and security responses against violence in schools and host communities.

On January 30, 2024, six pupils, two teachers and a driver of Apostolic Faith Church Primary and Secondary School, Emure were abducted in Eporo-Ekiti while being transported home after school hours.

On March 6, at least 287 pupils were reportedly kidnapped when terrorists on motorcycles stormed their school at Kuriga, in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, whisking them away in an operation that drew condemnation and outrage from the Presidency and the global community, including the UN children’s welfare agency, UNICEF.

On the lessons learnt from the recent abductions, Abodunrin noted that the Federal Government was working on technologies that would transmit information to the Safe School team even in the absence of a telecommunication network for quick response.

The commander said, “For instance, we discovered that information was delayed in Kaduna because there was no network.

“The same scenario played out in Ekiti. We are working on technology that can transmit information even without networks from service providers.”

He further stated that staff members from different schools and community members would be trained in managing emergencies.

“Another lesson learned is the fact that people are still confused during emergencies. The centre in collaboration with all stakeholders on robust community engagements.

“As first responders, both the members of the school communities and communities must have their capabilities built. In the next few months, all these will start manifesting. Community vulnerability will be reduced through public security education.

“It is unfortunate that these problems have mounted over time, dealing with them must be deliberate, decisive and procedural so that we will not be solving one issue while creating more,” he stated.

He added that the Safe School Response team also receives calls on other threats in schools, such as rape, cultism and others.

“As soon as information is received, a response follows. Many calls were received and actions taken.

“However, it is not all calls that are about insurgency, banditry or kidnapping. So many threats in schools – cultism, rape, knife attacks, bullying, stealing and even robbery among others.”

When asked if there were plans to seek support from foreign partners, the commander said, “Engaging foreign partners will be considered in such a way that it will not jeopardise our national interest. Decisions will be taken at higher levels as regards that.”

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