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Security Concerns: Police Orders Suspension of Assembly Devotion in Schools

Valentine Chinyem



The Nigeria police has ordered that assembly devotion in primary and secondary schools be suspended nationwide.

This is coming after an intelligence report, that pupils may be targeted during the exercise by insurgents.

Investigation showed that there was a signal from the Deputy Inspector- General of Police, Operations, to all state Commands, advising them to direct their respective state commissioners of education to suspend assembly devotion in all public and private schools.

The directive further said the action was necessary as a result of “credible terrorist threat specifically to such gatherings.”

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, confirmed the security report on Thursday, adding that the police and other security agencies were working to thwart any threat to schools across the country.

She said, “I can confirm that morning devotion has been suspended in primary and secondary schools following an intelligence report that such gatherings may be targeted by insurgents.

“We are working with other security agencies to frustrate any attack on schools and other public facilities; Nigerians should go about their business without any fear and they should also contact the nearest security agency if they have any useful information.”

According to reports by a correspondent, who went round some of the schools in Ibadan, observed that pupils walked straight into their classrooms in the morning instead of heading to the assembly halls or ground.

A vice principal in a secondary school in Ibadan, who preferred anonymity because she was not authorised to speak on the matter, told our correspondent that the practice stopped a few weeks ago. She however said no reason was given for the action by the state government.

She said, “We no longer conduct assembly as it was the practice for several decades. A directive from the state ministry of education advised that we put the tradition on hold. I don’t want to speculate reason for the directive since no reason was given for it. But I think it’s a temporary measure.”

However, a reliable source at the ministry, who did not want his name to be published, told our correspondent that intelligence reports gathered by the police informed the decision.

He said, “There was a security report which warned that the practice should stop to forestall possible attack. There was no formal letter to the schools but I understand that schools were advised to stop the practice by the government. The government did not want to create fear so it quietly gave the order without any elaborate explanation. The practice will return soon.”