The Gombe State Government has graduated one thousand youths as Education Marshals, expected to provide general surveillance functions in schools across the eleven local government areas of the state.
The Marshals are also to instill discipline in the students, as well as enforce law and order and report any undesirable activities to the school authorities.
According to the government, the training of the Education Marshals is coming at a time when the North-East is grappling with the effect of insurgency, which has led to the upsurge of people, especially youths coming into Gombe State and has created an army of unemployed youths.
The Gombe State Commissioner of Youth Empowerment, Mallam Farouk Yarma, said the two-week intensive training programme had equipped the youths for the security control in schools.
“You might be pleased to note that the Education Marshals performed creditably well at the training. This is attested to by dignitaries that visited the camp during the training, where the Commander 301 Artillery Regiment, Gombe recommended for their direct enlistment into the Nigerian Army. The team of consultants from the SDGs were not only impressed, but gave out money from their personal pockets to enhance the feeding of the Marshals,” Yarma said.
The Sustainable Development Goals Project Support in Gombe State funded the training and hoped to pay the allowances of the Education Marshals for the first six months.
The Focal Person on SDGs in the State, Mohammed Umar Gombe, described the programme as the killing of two birds with one stone.
“In the first place, the programme will provide empowerment and re-orientation to the teeming army of unemployed youths, thereby reducing youth restiveness and instability in our society. On the other hand, the programme will in the final analysis assist in re-enforcing security in our schools, through maintenance of law and order, as well as enforcing good moral upbringing to our children,” Alhaji Umar said.
Declaring the two-week training closed, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who was represented Deputy Governor Charles Iliya, said the deployment of the Education Marshals would safeguard the school environment for learning activities.
He urged the beneficiaries, who will be paid monthly allowances, to be good models to the students.
“To the beneficiaries of this programme, I want you to charge you all to live up to your expectations. You have been drilled security wise and nurtured in both character and learning, mainly to make our schools safe and environmentally friendly for smooth academic activities to thrive. Be good model to the students. I want you also to brace up and look for opportunities to further your studies while performing your role as Education Marshals,” Governor Dankwambo said.
Gombe is one of the states in Nigeria that witnessed the excesses of youths, known as Kalare.
However, at the swearing-in of Governor Dankwambo in 2011, he made it clear that the activities of the Kalare, were unacceptable and must be stopped, adding that the youths would be reformed to become productive citizens.
The Dankwambo Administration has now trained over 4,300 youths as Ward Marshalls, Traffic Marshals, Environmental Marshals and now Education Marshals.
Governor Dankwambo has flagged off a novel programme, g-Hope, where about 5, thousand youths are expected to be empowered.
He has also endorsed various bilateral agreements and partnership, both internationally and locally for the benefit of the youths of Gombe.
Governor Dankwambo urged the state Ministry of Education, especially schools, to receive them warmly and provide accommodation for them, if possible.
Out of the one thousand trained Education Marshals, over 50 are university graduates, another 30 are diploma and National Education Certificate Holders, while 20 are young women.