Security should be every bodies business and should be seen as such. The earlier the children are introduced into this business of security the better it will be for the individual, the school, the government and the society at large; and the less the costs of security campaigns, costs of loss of life and property, costs of disruption of school activities due to security breaches, costs of governance and so on.
During the visit to schools I and my team discovered that there is urgent need to inculcate security consciousness into the children so that when they become adults it would be part of them. It is important we catch them young, expose them to security education early, build in them security consciousness and watch them take serious interest in their own security as they grow and sojourn through life. Some of the schools we visited, the pupils do not know road signs, making it difficult for them to interpret it when they cross the road. Some do not know how to relate with strangers; what to do with unfamiliar objects that could be harmful or injurious. How to communicate dangerous or life threatening situations or handle simple personal security issues, even how to protect their properties like books, writing implements and so on.
Security is no longer a higher level need as postulated by Abraham H. Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs’ Theory. Security is the fundamental right of everyone. According to the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Security is everyone’s business. Security is a fundamental need for individuals, communities, businesses and governments. Security of life and freedom from harms of all kinds are fundamental rights of all people. Children deserve to understand at the earliest age what potentially could lead to crime, violence and breakdown of law and order as well as human rights abuses. They should be taught how to avoid unlawful and/or abusive behaviours; and to seek non-violent measures to resolve problems.
Children by their nature are exposed to different kinds of activities in school such as sports, swimming, play, quarrel and fight. They are also exposed to various objects in the school. Some of these objects are harmful, some are not. Of recent, terrorists have targeted and attacked schools as was the case of several bombing of schools in Maiduguri by Boko Haram.
A lot of activities go on in the school that involves the children. Therefore, they deserve to be closely watched. Unfortunately, the teachers in the school that are supposed to watch over these children lack basic knowledge of security. Some do not know what constitute security threats and opportunity of victimizations or criminalization that need to be eliminated. While others lack the basic knowledge of security rules and regulations necessary to keep the school environment safe and secure for pupils, staff, visitors and the general public.
At home, these children also engage in activities ranging from house chores to answering telephone calls, ushering visitors into the house and manning the residence in the absence of adults. They deserve basic security education to equip them for participation in their own security both at school and at home.
In an interview with some of the teachers in some schools, they saw the introduction of security education into primary school as a welcome development; while some even call for improve security awareness campaign at the grassroots, stressing that the current system of the use of media is elitism in nature and is targeted at the upper class alone at the expense of the middle and lower classes where majority of the people belong. They advocated for the use of traditional means of information disseminations such as town criers, dramatization, community participation and citizenry support. They see the need for the federal government to do more to create the much needed security awareness in the country.
If security education is included in the primary school curriculum, it would make whole lot of differences. They would know what security is all about; why they should be aware of their surroundings; know their neighbours, friends, aunties and uncles and what they say or do that could lead to security breach and how to report same and to whom; and adhere to simple security rules and regulations; what crime prevention and loss prevention are; types of adversaries and risks/threats; target hardening and basic prevention measures necessary to contain them would also be known and social decay would be solved. They would grow to know primary security procedures and imbibed security tenets which would have become part of them when they start working as it would be applied at home and at work and while traveling.
Some of the pupils who spoke to us said that they are interested in the subject when given insight on what would be learnt. They are optimistic that the introduction of security education into their curriculum would go a long way to addressing Nigeria’s security challenges.
Governments at all levels should see the need of introducing security education into primary schools so as to build the citizenry’s security awareness and check rising cases of victimization and criminalization in the country.