Security tightened after students slaughtered
Nigerian authorities are taking measures to improve security around schools after Islamists killed 40 students at the weekend.
Government sources said yesterday the move was aimed at restoring confidence in Western-style schools that have been scenes of bloody massacres by Boko Haram, which has been fighting for the establishment of an Islamic state.
A presidency source said President Goodluck Jonathan met senior security aides late on Sunday to discuss how to respond to the latest deadly shift in tactics by the insurgents.
"In the meeting they decided to provide special security cover for schools in the northeast and some other places prone to possible attacks," he said.
"The president is not happy ... He directed security chiefs to work out a new strategy so this doesn't happen again."
Gunmen stormed an agricultural college in the Gujba area of Yobe state on Sunday, dragging students out of their beds and shooting them dead.
"For now the government has directed all-round security surveillance on all schools across the state," Mohammed Lamin, Yobe commissioner for lower education, said.
"[But] security agencies need to step up their operations to protect lives and property."
An education official in Borno said the state had ordered an initial 30 buses with 100 seats each to carry day pupils to school.
Each would travel with two armed soldiers in front and two at the back, he said.
Pro-government vigilante groups would search everyone getting on the buses at each stop, he said.
The provost of the college, Molima Mato, said the death toll had reached 41 .
"I wrote so many letters to the [mixed military and police joint task force] asking for better security for my students and they always assured me," he said. But they never provided any protection, he said.
His complaint was shared by human rights group Amnesty International, which yesterday called on Nigeria to take urgent measures to protect schools and students in the northeast from attacks.
Thousands have been killed since Boko Haram launched its onslaught in 2009. As it has grown bolder and more deadly, it has also forged links with Islamists in the Sahara, including al-Qaeda's north African branch. - Reuters