By Paul Michael
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has called for the support of Traditional rulers in its campaign against kidnapping of school children for ransom and general insecurity in the country.
The NSCDC National Female Squad made the called when it paid a familiarisation and sensitisation visit to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Atanda, during the weekend.
According to the Unit National Commander of the Special Female Squad, CSC Oluwakemi Imonikhe, the visit was necessitated by the NSCDC Commandant General’s passion for safety of school children across the nation, which led to the establishment of the Female Squad to stem the tide of kidnapping and abduction in schools.
She noted that the Corps needs the support of all traditional rulers in the country as the custodian of customs and traditions, for “social reengineering, sensitisation of the populace on security consciousness, love for country and upholding of good moral values to serve as a constant reminder on the ills of criminality and gains of new national orientation and patriotism.”
Imonikhe assured the Alaafin and the people of Oyo State that the Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr. Abubakar Audi, is fully ready to fight the scourge of insecurity in Oyo State and that the Corps under his watch would continue to work very closely with the state government by providing credible intelligence information to nip crime and any infiltration or attack on schools in the bud.
In his response, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Atanda appealed to the CG to domicile the School Safety Initiative program in Oyo state, particularly to ward off apprehension and unnecessary fear of attack towards enjoying a violence free learning environment for students and teachers.
He assured the NSCDC of his full support for the Safe School Initiative while at the same time calling on the people of Oyo State and all traditional rulers to give maximum support to the Corps.
While appreciating the NSCDC Female Squad for the familiarisation visit, the Alaafin commended the NSCDC Oyo state command for living up to its responsibilities and specifically requested the Female Squad to fully participate in security operations in the state.
Recall that the spate of kidnapping of school children has been on the rise since the news of 276 female students of Government Girls Secondary School at Chibok, Borno State, abducted by Boko Haram on 14th April, 2014, took the country by surprise.
According to a circular by the Oyo State Government on 27 October, 2021, kidnappers now “wear a similar uniform as the child(ren) in their car and offer to help unsuspecting school children to their school. Once the innocent children enter the vehicle, they zoom off to an unknown destination.”
The alarm that came from the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Oyo State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, has since increased fear and tension across the state.
The full operations of the NSCDC Safe School Initiative by the Special Female Squad with the support of the public is, however, expected to douse down tension and restore the confidence of students, teachers and the general public.