The Katsina State government, Northwest Nigeria, has ordered the reopening of all all-female boarding schools in the state for the continuation of the 2020/2021 academic session, three months after they were shut down over insecurity.
The schools were closed over fears of more student abductions from boarding schools by terrorists after over 300 students were abducted in an overnight operation by a terror group in the Kankara area of the state on Dec. 11, 2020. They were later released.
According to a government statement on Tuesday, the female students are to resume school at nearby day schools, starting Wednesday, March 24, pending the reopening of boarding schools on Sunday, March 27.
“In line with the Katsina State policy on School’s resumption, His Excellency the Executive Governor of Katsina State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari (CFR) has directed reopening of all Female Boarding Secondary Schools on Day System Basis to nearby Schools of their locations/residence on Wednesday 24th March, 2021,” the statement reads in part.
The government also directed the reopening of other boarding schools which were closed, as a result of insecurity in the state, emphasising the need for complete adherence to COVID-19 protocols
“Similarly, the Government directed the re-opening of the following boarding Schools: Government Unity Secondary School Malumfashi; SUNCAIS Katsina; Government Girls Secondary School Dutsin Safe Katsina; Government Girls Arabic Secondary School Dutsinma; Government School for the Deaf Malumfashi and Government School for the Blind Katsina on Sunday 28th Match, 2021 for the continuation of 2020/2021 academic session.”
The government did not indicate in the statement what security measures are being put in place to secure the schools as fears continue to grow over the safety of the schools.
A HumAngle analysis explained how schools in Northern Nigeria have increasingly become terrorists’ attack targets, raising concerns on the impacts it may have on the region’s formal education system.
Already, more than 700 students were abducted, injured or killed in a series of coordinated attacks on schools in the region between Dec. 2020 and March 2021.
In May 2014, following the abduction of the Chibok girls by Boko Haram, Nigeria launched the Safe School Initiative to make schools safer for learning but not much has been achieved in that regard.
Kabir Adamu, a security analyst, said the government must increase the effort required to secure schools by ensuring adequate physical security arrangements including the three-step model under the safe schools Initiative and the safe schools’ declaration (school environment, residents of the school environment and the community hosting the school)
“Government must also reduce the risks associated with the activity by ensuring perpetrators are arrested and punished and also reduce rewards,” Adamu told HumAngle.
“Make it difficult for ransom to be paid, collected or spent.”
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