Back the $100m fund for safe schools in Nigeria says Gordon Brown

Children in conflicts, Gordon Brown, Safe schools

Gordon Brown today called for the international community to back a $100million fund for secure education in Nigeria.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education is in the country to discuss rescue attempts for the 200 kidnapped Chibok girls and the Safe Schools Initiative.

Mr Brown met President Goodluck Jonathan and the governors of Yobe and Borno states. All four agree that schools must be made more secure so children are not in fear of terrorist attacks while learning.

The Chibok girls were taken eight weeks ago and are still in captivity. The Safe Schools Initiative was launched to make sure that such attacks do not happen in the future and the fund currently stands at $22.5million. Yesterday Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala announced the fund target was $100million.

Mr Brown's visit, which included a trip to a community near Abuja, came as 15 football fans were killed watching a public screening of the Brazil-Mexico World Cup match in the capital – the latest bombing in a week of terrorist attacks by Boko Haram.

Mr Brown said: “Nigeria is facing a moment of truth, when terrorists are trying to engineer a civil war and seeking to prevent girls from ever going to school under their theme that western education is a sin.

“Now that their attacks are so indiscriminate that girls are being abducted from school classrooms and football fans are being attacked while watching public screenings of matches. It is time for the international community to wake up to the need to support Nigeria as it takes on this terrorist menace.

“Yesterday we agreed that we would raise funds to rebuild Chibok school from where the 200 girls were abducted. We also agreed that we would appeal to international aid agencies to support the Safe Schools Initiative.

“Nigeria is facing a downward spiral of violence and they deserve the widest possible help, with counter-terrorism expertise that has been built up over many years in other countries.”

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