1.1           Background to the Study

No country will ever achieve a sustainable development in the face of widespread insecurity of lives and properties. The global challenge of insecurity that develops from organized high profile crimes perpetrated through transnational syndication and racketeering has endlessly perceived as threats to survival of countries. Nigeria`s political history has been chequered by various forms of violent insecurity challenges ranging from the civil war, election related mayhem, riots and protests, militancy, insurgency and herdsmen/farmer clashes. However, the rise of Boko Haram sect created an new dimension to Nigeria`s insecurity problems. The core belief of this notorious group is that western education is sinful and should be detested. The operations and activities of Boko Haram sect against education came to limelight following the abduction of 276 students of Government Girls College, Chibok. This universally well-publicized instance of school kidnapping brought a new perception to Nigeria`s insecurity problem as many secondary school attacks have been recorded in several states of the country afterward. There were cases of kidnapping of teachers and students Lagos, Niger, Adamawa Borno and other states in the country. There were reported cases of killing of students and their teachers. Bombs have been brazenly detonated in school assemblies leaving dozens dead (Yobe School attack) while school buildings are burnt down. Iheamnachor (2015) likewise revealed that five secondary school teachers were kidnapped in a school in Rivers State leaving the students and the people in the area in total fear and tension.

There were as well recorded instances of induced crisis which impacted schools. (Mission Secondary Schools situated in Nassarawa region of Jos was attacked by Muslim radicals). Instances of hostel raping were likewise revealed while a lot of these school attacks were not reported. Recent statistics showed that about 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa States between 2009 and 2018, while an estimate of 1,500 schools had been destroyed since 2014, with over 1,280 casualties among teachers and students (Adesulu, 2019). A lot of these cases were never reported by the public media which influenced the true situation. These attacks depend on effective teaching and learning which serve as a drawback to our national development.

According to Akintunde and Musa (2016), insecurity in the school environment influence the effective learning of children. Situations of insecurity triggers traumatic disorder and toxic stress that affect learning negatively. General school attendance and enrolment are equally affected as parents pull their children out of schools while in some extreme cases, insecurity has led to closure of schools. For instance, Borno State schools were shut-down in major towns as a result of insurgency (Ameh, 2015). These attacks on schools usually lead to vandalization and outright destruction of school facilities which discourage the establishment of new schools. Therefore, government properties are exhausted as funds allocated for other developmental projects are diverted to tackling the aftermath of attacks. In the end, educational attainment in terms of quality of graduates and manpower suffers which impinge on overall national development aspirations.

Currently, the wellbeing of the school kid is of primary concern to stakeholders in the Education sector in Nigeria. This is as a result of school insecurity which is becoming an alarming challenge sweeping across the country. Parents and guardians are concerned about their children and wards' protection in the face of terrorists' attacks in Nigeria, particularly in the northern part. Terrorist groups known as Boko Haram and Bandits are on the rampage, attacking, kidnapping and bombing public places including schools. They kidnap adults, women, rich and average citizens, girls, school children and teachers. Majority of the 276 Chibok secondary school girls kidnapped by the Boko haram insurgents in 2014 were yet to be found (Uzochukwu, M. 2015). Even school assemblies were not spared. Bombs were detonated in school assemblies or around the school. Education has been severely disrupted in the North-eastern part of Nigeria (Shuaibu, F.B. 2015), especially with the regular murder and abduction of innocent students. Such incidents have no doubted created fear in the minds of students, teachers and parents and thereby causing parents and guardians to withdraw students from schools or outright closure of schools by the government or school authorities for long periods.

Likewise, in various parts of the North-Central, religious crisis had erupted prompting violent attacks that frustrated smooth learning of students in schools. Numerous Christian students had been withdrawn from Mission schools situated within Muslim-dominated areas in Jos (and vice versa) due to the issues of series of religious attacks. The few Christian students staying put in such schools regularly carry out their academic activities with hidden fear of the unknown and cautious actions. Examples of them are Mission Secondary Schools located in Nassarawa area of Jos.

All forms of school insecurity abound. Some of them include kidnappings, violent attacks and cultism. Kidnapping is now the order of the day in Nigeria (Uzochukwu, M. 2015). Males, females, children, teachers and students are abducted almost on a daily basis in the country now and ransome are being demanded. Several news have been reported where the kidnappers of the victims always demand for ransome in millions of Naira and if the ransome are not quickly met, the victim might be killed in their custody.

Effective learning of the Nigerian Child can only be achieved in a secured and conducive learning environment that will necessitate emotional stability. According to Dibia and Obi (2012), the academic success of students depends largely on their emotional stability. Insecure learning environment puts the Nigerian students in stressful states that can affect students’ behavior and also impede learning. There is a need to overcome these security challenges by the Nigerian child for efficient and effective learning becomes fundamental. It is therefore on this foundation that this study seeks to establish the issues, prospects and solutions to insecurity in Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Insecurity and insurgency in Nigeria has taken a frightening dimension in which schools and colleges especially public schools are worst hit. Sporadic shootings in school premises, hostage taking and kidnapping of both staff and students have been reported on several occasions in almost every state of the federation. Violent armed robbery, cultism, shooting, rape, gangsterism and other manner of attacks which are psychologically disturbing have been witnessed in schools in the recent past. School environment which appears to be relatively safe and secure is now witnessing some sorts of insecurity. Armed robbery attacks on schools in the country is now the order of the day. Kidnapping of teachers for ransome while violent attacks in schools by cultists; assault on students in form of demonstration, gangsterism and hooliganism have equally been observed and witnessed in some schools in Nigeria. These ugly phenomenon has great consequence on the educational development of the nation. School attendance and enrolment is depleting despite government efforts in improving the state of infrastructures in schools. Parents are always apprehensive whenever their children are in school due to insecurity. Some parents now select days when to allow their children to go to schools while loss of concentration on teaching and learning is affected due to insecurity by both teachers and students. The goals of education especially at the secondary schools as contained in the National Policy on Education (NPE) are being threatened due to insecurity in Nigeria. On this premise, the study seeks to establish the issues, prospects and solutions to insecurity in Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to establish the issues, prospects and solutions to insecurity in Secondary Schools in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives include:

  1. To understand the impacts of security challenges on Nigerian students’ learning
  2. To provide solutions to the problems of insecurity in secondary schools in Nigeria
  3. To examine the prevalence of insecurity in secondary schools in Nigeria
  4. To investigate if parents and teachers significantly differ on impact of insecurity on attendance of school pupils in Nigeria

1.4           Research Questions

Several reports by the print and electronic media on insecurity in the country has showed insignificant empirical evidence. Based on this knowledge gap therefore, the study raised the following questions:

  1. What are the impacts of security challenges on Nigerian students’ learning?
  2. Are there solutions to the problems of insecurity in secondary schools in Nigeria?
  3. What is the prevalence of insecurity in secondary schools in Nigeria?
  4. Do Parents and teachers significantly differ on impact of insecurity on attendance of school pupils in Nigeria?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following hypothetical statements were tested for the purpose of this study.

  1. There is a significant impacts of security challenges on Nigerian students’ learning
  2. There is a significant correlation between parents and teachers difference on the effect of insecurity on secondary school in Nigeria

1.6       Significance of the Study

            This study is significant in the sense that it will help to assist the government to be proactive in tackling insecurity and insurgency in the country. Also, the study would be of immense benefit to the secondary schools students in Nigeria to be very conscious of their environment and to report any security challenges to the appropriate security personnel. In addition, the study would be of immense benefit to the various stakeholders in security matters for policy making. Lastly, the study would also be of immense benefit to the scholars who want to carry for research on the same subject matter in the nearest future.

1.7       Scope of the Study

            This study is on the issues, prospects and solutions to insecurity in Secondary Schools in Nigeria. Therefore, the study will be carried out among five selected secondary schools in Niger State, Nigeria.

1.8       Definition of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of carrying out this study:

Insecurity- is a feeling of uncertainty, a lack of confidence or anxiety about oneself

Insurgency- a usually violent attempt to take control of a government or a rebellion or uprising.

Terrorism- is unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government or its citizens to further certain political or social objectives.