#EducateNigeria SafeSchools – A Priorty

At least 46 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said

I have never written an original blog post or article before but on this issue I will not commit the sin of silence.

A few days ago, I like many other Nigerians heard the news of the death of close to 50 students and teachers of a Government secondary school in Yobe. These people were murdered for trying to get an education and aspiring to live a modern life. Their murderers have declared full scale war on education and modern development and hope to win that war by ensuring illiteracy.

The stunning thing about this event however is that this is not the first time a school will be attacked in the nation, region or indeed the state. There had been another massacre in a school in the state and a kidnapping incident in Chibok in the preceding months. Upon hearing the news the question that came to my mind was “Do we ever learn?”. Where are the lessons learnt from Chibok and other incidents, why have they not been implemented? What about the “SafeSchools Initiative” by Mr Gordon Brown and the Nigerian government? Why are we yet to see its results?

The discourse right now should not be about how close to X politicians declarations the bombings are or how this bombing is or is not a Northern/alien/Martian conspiracy. The discourse right now should be around making our schools safe. We should be asking questions in order to understand the programs the government has in place, what has or has not been done and finally what citizens can do to augment the governments efforts.

How can we make these soft targets harder for these terrorist to strike and safer for our children to attend? Have our teachers been trained on anti-terror procedures like they were on Ebola prevention measures? What kind of systems do we need to put in place to augment the presence of security personnel? Can we find cheaper fencing materials and barricades that can be deployed around schools? Do citizens need to donate funds to help the government? These are the questions we should be asking and answering rather than making unfounded allegations.

We need to stop arguing about unproductive conspiracy theories and focus our energies on ensuring the safety of our students. We must not allow Boko Haram and other such groups dictate the pace of educational development in any part of the federation. We must provide an alternative to the two choices this crisis is giving our children: “avoid school or die” by ensuring that these schools are safe enough and remain open.

Finally we must also find better ways to hold governments at all levels accountable for the safety of life and property within their regions. I cannot express how sad it makes me that at a time when a section of the country is in need a lot of us are busying ourselves with old wives fables rather than asking more of our mandated officials. The greatest honour we can give the victims of this blast is to ensure that their deaths were not in vain and that no other Nigerian child or teacher will be lost in similar circumstances. I pray that we all wake up to the responsibility before us and the duty we owe posterity.

We shall overcome.

God Bless Nigeria.


Name: Clarence Onyekwere



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