Nigeria promises increased deployment of security personnel at schools, hospitals

The Nigerian government says it is deploying additional security personnel to protect schools, hospitals and other national infrastructure across the country.

Nigeria promises increased deployment of security personnel at schools, and hospitals. /CGTN Africa

This follows a recent threat by terrorists to attack national assets and infrastructure.

But experts want the government to go beyond the increased deployment of troops, by also employing non-violent measures.

Most schools in the country are currently on holiday and slated to resume in September.

In the next academic year, they will have security personnel, provided by the government, to protect the students and teachers.

Security expert, McDonald Fuanbial says the government’s plan is the right thing to do.

“The security situation in Nigeria is quite appalling. With the recent trend of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and all that, it’s very worrisome and I think it’s a step in the right direction, that government is planning to deploy security to these public places.”

Schools in Nigeria have increasingly become targets for gunmen who attack and destroy infrastructure, and also kidnap students and teachers.

The Nigerian Union of Teachers says over 800 teachers have been killed due to insecurity since the start of an insurgency in the country in 2009.

The United Nations says at least 1,400 schools have been destroyed in the region since then.

Public affairs analyst, Salis Abdusalam says the attacks on schools are part of a plan by terrorists in Nigeria to prevent citizens from becoming enlightened.

“For schools as soft targets, the initial plan was to discourage, sabotage the government, sabotage the efforts of western education which they are strongly against, that’s why their local name is Boko Haram. Later on, they’ve evolved and metamorphosed to be more sophisticated, Abdusalam said. ”  

The country has less than 400,000 policemen tasked with securing its over 200 million citizens.

Experts like Salis Abdusalam say the government will have to employ measures beyond deployment of conventional security personnel for its desire to protect schools and other public places to be impactful.

“They are fighting people who are fighting from a point of ideology so if you kill one today, it doesn’t mean the other one will stop. That’s ideology, it’s in their brain, that’s what they want to do so they even consider themselves dead…so the security apparatus are supposed to fight them on two fronts. The kinetic and the non-kinetic…they can marshal what you call a citizen volunteer force for instance. There are so many other innovations they can use. Using the citizenry is going to be key.”

 The government says it is improving its security strategies.

It has initiated an amnesty program for terrorists who lay down arms in return for rehabilitation and reintegration back into society. They are exposed to different skills after undergoing a reformation process.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved the employment of 60,000 police officers, and the acquisition of more fighter jets for its armed forces to better secure the country.

These measures are expected to discourage people from joining terror gangs, mitigate further attacks on schools in Nigeria and also lead to an increase in student enrollment.