By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government has launched a “Safe to School, Be Seen, Be Safe” initiative to ensure the children safety in and out of school.
The initiative would increase access and quality education of over 40 million school children, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said during the launch of the programme in Abuja on Thursday to mark this year’s Children’s Day.
Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajiuba, Adamu used the occasion to unveil customised reflective children safety jackets and uniforms for cadet and school crossing guards.
Speaking on the significance of the ‘Safe School Programme’, which is a collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Education and the Children Accident Prevention Initiative (CAPI), the minister said the reflective jackets for school children and other accident prevention infrastructures would provide immediate care and support for the children.
“This initiative, especially, is to prevent children from sustaining injuries while trekking to and from neighbouring schools.
“It is in pursuant of the good health and well-being of school children and realisation of quality education.
“The initiative is designed to primarily aid the protection of school children from road accidents associated with motor vehicles, motorcycles, tricycles while crossing our busy network of roads to and from their respective schools.
“As enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding, the programme encompasses a phased kitting of school children within the ages of four to 14 years in selected schools at the Federal and state levels, with customised reflective jackets and armband free of charge,” he said.
Adamu noted that the collaboration with CAPI was to address the obvious challenges across every facet of accidents involving school children, as well as charting a new course in combating the carnage among such children.
“Occasionally, some children that trek through busy roads to their schools are knocked down, injured, maimed for life or even killed instantly.
“We are aware of the emotional trauma parents go through and the socioeconomic impact therein,” Adamu said.
He, therefore, said that the ministry would expand the programme throughout the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory and also the 774 local government areas and wards, to ensure inclusion.
Also speaking, Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, stated that kitting school children with reflective jackets would ensure the visibility of road users.
He called for extensive collaboration for the successful implementation of the scheme toward reduction of accidents especially, as it affects the school children.
Similarly, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouk, commended the ministry of education for the innovative and worthwhile initiative.
Farouk pledged her ministry’s readiness to fully support the programme geared toward empowering 40 million school children with accident prevention kits.
On his part, Julius Ihonvbere, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, said the National Assembly would continue to support the initiatives that would encourage students to go to school.
“While we continue to express concerns over the fate of our children in captivity and those in the hands of terrorists, kidnappers, it gives us the room to reflect on the rights of our children to good education, social security, safety and love.
“Our children have always made us proud and as such, it provides the government at all levels to rededicate themselves in the domestication of the Child Rights Act, to reposition basic education in Nigeria,” he said.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, described the initiative as laudable, as it would bring about consciousness, knowledge and leadership on the part of the students.
Malami called on the students to always strive to keep away from danger, just as the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible have admonished.
“As we celebrate our children, this innovation will bring about consciousness of security, knowledge and leadership,” he said.