The Katsina State Government on Thursday engaged stakeholders to ensure that school campuses across the state are fully safe and secure against bandit attacks.
This comes as most tertiary institutions including secondary and primary schools in the state have fully resumed for the academic year.
In a strategic engagement with the stakeholders organised by the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, several papers were presented on how best to enhance and guarantee campus safety and security.
The stakeholders, however, believed that without community participation, the existing security forces in the country are not enough to police the entire country.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Higher Education Dr. Bashir Ruwa-Godiya observed that without security nothing good will take place and that conducive learning atmosphere will not be ensured.
Ruwan-Godiya, while describing the efforts of the State Government in coming up with the safety and security strategy as highly commendable, further urged the stakeholders to work together to ensure that the right thing is done by taking security as individual responsibility to ensure safe environment.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Ibrahim Ahmad Katsina announced that the objective of the seminar is mainly to ensure campus safety for students and members of the academic environment as well as that of the communities.
According to Katsina, the State Government had since after the episode of Kankara Government Science Secondary School in December, 2020, been taking proactive measures to enhance security and ensure that such incidences does not occur again across not only the government secondary schools but also the tertiary institutions in the state.
“Actually, we realised that the best security we can have is through synergy. Without community participation, you hardly achieve the needful.
“As everybody knows that the number of security forces we have in the country cannot adequately police the country and without community participation hardly can we achieve the result.
“Another objective of the seminar is that secondly, we realized that if anybody wants to destroy your future, he will attack the education sector and that’s why kidnappers, terrorists or bandits are deliberately targeting our schools and we feel we should not allow it,” he explained.
In the meantime, the State Deputy Governor, Mannir Yakubu, traced the root cause of all the crimes which he believes has to do with drug abuse, stressing the need for the organisers to extend the seminar across all tertiary institutions in the state.
He explained that both the Federal and State governments have been doing their best to restore peace and normally.
The seminar, which was held at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina attracted heads of various tertiary institutions as well as that of the security agencies in the state comprising the DSS, the Army, the FRSC and the Police whose presentations focused on ways to improving security.
In particular, the Commander in charge of the Katsina State chapter of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Muhammed Bashir, presented a paper titled: “Dangers of Drug Abuse To The Students”.
He also gave an assurance of the agency’s readiness to reduce the supply and demand of illicit substances going by the staggering statistics of arrests and seizures coming out from the state.
Bashir while presenting an executive summary on the drug situation in the state explained that out of the 395 total arrests made last year by the agency, 94 per cent fall between the ages of 15-40 with 83 of the sum total falling between the ages of 15-20 years arrested adding that 41 and above are six persons.
He revealed that one out of seven persons in Nigeria is into drug abuse and one out of four drug users is a woman.
Meanwhile, a cross-section of participants at the seminar appealed to the NDLEA to extend its collaborative network to stakeholders, stressing the need for the agency to be supported by the government.
Other participants, however, called on the government to deploy well-armed security personnel across the institutions of higher learning in the state or else enhance and train their existing private security personnel to ensure safety of the school environment.