President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday urged school operators, especially those in the north east of the country, to provide basic security for their boarding students.
Jonathan made the call at the Presidential Villa in Abuja when he received report of the Presidential Fact Finding Committee on Abducted Female Students in Chibok, Borno.
He said henceforth, school owners, especially in the north east, who want to keep their students in boarding houses, must be ready to make basic security provisions for their safety.
The President said the insurgents were able to operate unhindered because there was no security arrangement at the Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) where the girls were abducted on April 14.
“Let me charge everybody, whether corporate bodies, federal and state governments or individuals that own schools especially in the north east, that if we must keep students in hostels, there must be some basic security that should be provided.
“On the issue of Chibok, even if we had five police officers guarding that school that night when the invaders came in, they couldn’t have been able to deceive those girls.
“The story was that they came in military camouflage and deceived the girls that they were soldiers, who came to take them on protective custody because Boko Haram was invading the community, and they followed.
“While I am not expecting school owners to put an army battalion on guard, at least basic security arrangement should be made to protect their students.
“If we had just five security personnel in the compound that night, although they couldn’t have stood the firepower of the invaders, they could have alerted the girls and they wouldn’t have been deceived.
“Most of them would have been able to escape and probably the number taken would not have been up to 30.
“But because there was no security at all, there was nobody to even warn the girls that there was danger’’, he said.
Jonathan disclosed that his administration would not limit its anti-terrorism efforts to military intervention only as it was currently looking at economic issues to improve people’s welfare.
He said in addition to government’s Almajiri school programme, his administration was strongly supporting the Safe Schools Initiative to keep children in troubled states in school.
The President said Victim Support Fund would soon be floated to cater for those affected by the insurgency, including orphaned children and those whose businesses had been destroyed.
Jonathan promised that the Federal Government would rebuild the Chibok school using army engineers.
“All buildings there will be demolished and rebuilt. That will start after the children are rescued.
“On completion, the federal government will not manage the school because it is a state school. We will hand it over to the state government to manage’’, he added.
He assured the committee members that the security council would study their report and take the necessary steps.
Chairman of the committee, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Sabo, said the report addressed a number of issues that were incidental to the committee’s terms of reference.
He listed the issues to include matters dealing with insurgency in general and the military/political responses vital to overcoming the current security challenge.
Sabo said the committee met with four of the girls who regained freedom and their families.
The chairman, however, advised that the report should be treated with utmost confidentiality in order not to jeopardise the ongoing rescue efforts or compromise national security.
This, he said, does not preclude government from releasing information that may be useful for a better public understanding of issues surrounding the abduction saga.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jonathan inaugurated the committee on May 6 to provide government with accurate information about the incident.
Its six terms of reference included liaising with the Borno Government and establishing the circumstances leading to the school remaining opened for boarding students when other schools were closed.
It was also mandated to liaise with relevant authorities and the parents of the missing girls to establish the actual number and identities of those abducted, among others. (NAN)