Open Letter to Northern Governors

Posted by News Express | 24 February 2021 | 584 times

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•Security Expert Temitope Olodo


Establishment of Super Schools – It is time for strategic review of school management in Northern Nigeria

The increase activities of hybrid bandits who are taking advantage of Nigeria weak security infrastructure and lack of enforcement capacity to protect all school structure is worrisome; there is urgent need to stop the growing trend of abducting school pupils/staff and rethink of school strategy in Northern Nigeria.

It is for the above reasons that I am writing this open letter to Northern State Governors to embrace the “Concept of Establishing Super Schools” to address this menace.

Just a driving distance of 217.64 miles (350.26 km) from Aso Rock, Abuja; hybrid #Bandits abduct pupils and teachers from GSSS Kagara, located in the headquarter of Rafi LGA in Niger State demanding 500 million Naira!

Governor El-Rufai once said Nigeria can’t afford to negotiate with bandits and that is the gospel truth; the only reasonable solution to this embarrassing scenario is to consider rewriting the school strategy in Northern Nigeria for five reasons:

- Increase school intake

- Reduce numbers of out-of-school children

- Enhance safety and security in the school environment

- Reduce the psychological and advance mental impact of children expose to violence

- Eradicate school abduction

The word ‘Super School’ was first used in the year 1920 and it is defined as ‘a collection of schools housed in our location’. Whilst, a school could be defined as ‘an educational environment where people, particularly young children go to learn about different topics spending time in a classroom, a place where usually 10 to 30 people sit in to engage in educational discussion’.

From a security perspective, a Super School is a combination of a gated education community with embedded security features lacking in a normal school setting’. In light of the on-going security challenges in majority of Northern Nigeria States; the concept of a fortified building designed for the defence of the educational establishment might be the only foreseeable solution to the abduction crisis created by #hybrid bandits taking advantage of the ungoverned space and lack of effective security to manned/secure educational establishment.

The business case for the establishment of Super School is logical. Even with the challenges associated with Boko Haram, ISWAP and now banditry in Northern Nigeria; the truth must be said that only one university in the whole of the 19 Northern States had been attacked in the past.

A university is a ‘Super School’ in a true sense because it is in reality a fortified educational institution. The term fortification is derived from Latin fortis (“strong”) and facere (“to make”).

Thus, if the governors in Northern Nigeria are serious of reducing the number of out-of-school children and guarantee the wellbeing of students and school authority alike then there is a critical need to re-design schools in a manner that enhance safety and security.

The Concept of Super School provides the opportunity to guarantee a serious reduction in abduction rate and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) embedded in the architectural philosophy of the structure aimed at:

- Deterring criminal or antisocial behaviour through environmental design,

- Focus on natural surveillance, access control, and

- Territorial reinforcement.

In a Nigeria context, the concept of a Super School will denote bringing together 8 to 10 schools within a fortified compound with built-in security and health support within the environment. Whilst, it is practically impossible to provide sufficient manned security for all schools in Northern Nigeria; it would be possible to embedded combined multi-security agency outfit within a Super School setting because they will live within the fortified school compound and they will be trained effectively on how to protect the location and it would be easier to secure rapid security enforcement if such a fortified location is under attack because that is already embedded in their security architecture.

It is for the above reason that Northern Nigeria Governors need to review their school policy to accommodate the concept of Super Schools which will enhance their policy on out-of-school children and reduce school related crimes.

Are Nigerians going to witness another dramatic abduction negotiation similar to the Kankara Schoolboys saga?

Why is it so difficult of Nigeria government to protect school age children from kidnappers?

•Temitope Olodo is a Preventive Terrorism Consultant, Author and President of Africa Security Forum based in the United Kingdom. He is the CEO of TRAZ Consortium Limited.


Source: News Express

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