President Goodluck Jonathan has announced Nigeria’s donation of $10million to the ‘Safe School Initiative’, a brainchild of the United Nation’s Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, some frontline business men in Nigeria to safeguard school children from attacks.
President Jonathan made the pledge when he had audience on Friday with the former British Prime Minister on the sidelines of the just concluded World Economic Forum on Africa, in Abuja.
Brown had two days earlier teamed up with a coalition of Nigerian business leaders to formally launch the ‘Safe Schools Initiative’ with an initial $10 million as part of the ‘#Bring Back Our Girls#” campaign and to further promote schools as safe spaces.
“I came to assure Jonathan and Nigerians of the much needed support from the international business community in the efforts to find and rescue the kidnapped girls and to generally end insurgency in the country.
“It is also important to collectively work towards giving assuring all girls who wish to go to school in the country that they will be given adequate protection and the right environment to learn.
“I was able to say that the international business community wishes to support an initiative of the Nigerian business community that there be safe schools, to help parents and teachers and girls who are going to school know and be reassured that their schools are safe.
“A Fund of $10 million has been created immediately. The President has just told me that the government will support that Fund with another $10 million. At the same time there is a request for international aid agencies that I have made to add to that Fund.
“We want to assure every girl that goes to school and every teacher that teaches that their school will be safer as a result of this action. And we want to support the Nigerian government in all their efforts,” he said.
The former British Prime Minister explained that the initiative would go further to get more boys and girls into school and that he would work with the Nigerian government to evolve proposals to be financed by the international community to ensure that this happens.
“We also talked about the future of education and what we can do to help the Nigerian government achieve its great aim of getting every girl and boy to go to school.
“And I am going to be working with them to formulate proposals for the international community to support by finanace to make sure that more girls go to school.
“I am pleased to have met the President and to be reassured that he is doing everything within his government’s power to bring back the girls.
“And as a parent and as someone who thinks of the fear and the anxiety and the worry of any parent whose child has been snatched and taken away and not knowing whether they are going to return.
“It is in the world’s interest to support the Nigerian government to do everything in their power to locate these girls first of all, and to return them to their parents. Our sympathy and prayers go out to both the girls and their parents today,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, Paul Polman, also met with Jonathan to discuss the possibility of his firm increasing its investment in Nigeria with additional 50 million Euros.
He said the threat of terrorism in Nigeria was not a deterrent for Unilver because it believes that apart from the urge to help grow other businesses, the availability of additional industries and businesses would create more job opportunities and help solve the problem of insurgency in the country.