Human Rights Watch, (HRW), yesterday opposed to the idea by the government to station security personnel in schools at the troubled north eastern states of the country.
At a world press conference addressed by HRW European media director, Andrew Stroealein, and its Nigeria counterpart, Mrs Mausi Segun, the group said, the idea may eventually make those schools a target for Boko Haram who may want to hit at the security personnel.
Rather, the organization suggested a community led protection, whereby people of the community provide ring for the school children by giving information to security operatives of probable attacks as well as urgent response to such calls.
The international civil rights group also called for an international probe on the source of finance of Boko Haram to check mate the insurgent’s empire.
According to HRW, “asking police or military to be posted permanently to schools may endanger the children the more. This is because the security officials may again become a target, which by extension will affect school children and parents as well.
“What can be done in alternative is for the security to work with communities to provide information on advance attacks or given urgent information to security operatives when situations call for it.”
The group said identifying the source of funding for Boko Haram will be one of the foundation steps in the move to bring the insurgent group onto its knees.
He emphasized that effort must be made in this direction especially as the United States has recently ruled out the likelihood of a support of the group by Al Queda.
Stroehlein recommended that an independent international panel should be set up for this purpose because the challenge has now gone beyond the Nigerian scope, adding, the coming together of the world powers to confront Boko Haram could be a leverage to achieve this.
On policing the school, HRW said posting police to schools could be counter productive.
“The government should demilitarize the security around schools in the north. Positioning military and police forces around schools, from what we have seen in other places, has high tendency of attracting attacks to the schools.
“The attack might not be primarily targeted against the schools but when the military and police forces stationed close to schools are attacked same would no doubt spill to the schools.” Mausi said.
As an alternative, Human Rights Watch recommended that the protection of schools should rather be community led.
“The government should consider setting up early warning and preparatory system to tackle insurgent attacks. This would involves station military and police forces in locations where they could easily respond in case of attacks, but never close to the schools.” Mausi stated.
The body also reiterated the need to account for human rights violations cases that have stemmed from the counter-terrorist military responses in the north. [Vanguard]