Federal Government has stepped up plans to actively engage hunters and vigilantes on intelligence gathering to curb attacks on schools across the country.

The National Coordinator, Financing Safe Schools Initiative, Mrs. Halima Iliya, who gave this indication in Abuja, yesterday, said aggressive community engagements and sensitisation of students, parents and teachers would kick-off any moment from now.

“As a component of the plan, for states with local vigilantes, we intend to train their hunters, vigilantes and volunteers while for states without registered vigilantes we intend to advocate using youths.

“Youths will volunteer to protect their communities because we cannot achieve anything within a community without their involvement.

“We will bring them to the security architecture for them to defend and protect their communities in the areas of intelligence gathering, prevention and detection deterrent capabilities.”

Iliya disclosed that there were plans to also use the platform of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) because of its presence in all the local governments.

She said they would be used to reach out to the grassroots by developing some training manuals that could be converted to local dialect of communities for efficient communication.

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“We are done with the second phase of the implementation of the safe schools national plan where all security agencies involved have trained their personnel on safe schooling which has been streamed into their operations.

“We have also written to all states, including the FCT, to furnish us with information on the most at-risk schools in the three senatorial zones and one tertiary institution.

“We want states to take ownership then we tailor the intervention towards this as these are the ways to make a significant impact,” she said.

Dr Ahmed Audi, Commandant General (CG), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said the Corps, being the lead agency in the protection of schools, was dedicated to ensuring that schools are adequately protected in collaboration with other security agencies.

He said the Corps had introduced the School Community Security Vanguard which has a non-kinetic approach in engaging communities, parents/teachers associations, traditional rulers and youth leaders in various communities with a view to discussing security issues.

The National Safe School Response Coordination Centre (NSSRCC) Commander, Hameed Abodunrin, said the Center had engaged in continuous sensitization of schools on the risks and dangers associated with not being security conscious.

Abodunrin, however, said during the sensitisation programmes, operatives were careful to avoid creating unnecessary panic in the minds of citizens.