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Brown in Nigeria schools safety bid

Former prime minister Gordon Brown will play a "lead role" in a project to improve safety in Nigerian schools set up after the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls.

Mr Brown, now a UN special envoy for education, was invited by president Goodluck Jonathan to work with Nigerian officials on the scheme which has over £12 million of funding from Britain.

The initiative will start with 500 pilot schools in northern states plagued by militant Islamists Boko Haram, before expanding more widely to include rapid response plans following attacks as well as other saftey measures.

Mr Brown said the scheme could be up and running within weeks and stressed international support would be available.

The former Labour leader said: "We must ensure that schools are safe for young people to learn and thrive.

"No child should go to school without knowing that their schools, communities, teachers, parents and religious leaders are doing all they can to ensure their protection. And parents must know that we are doing all we can to make schools safe.

"None of us can stand by and endlessly witness schools being shut down, girls cut off from their education, and parents in fear of their daughters' lives. The education system that has the potential to transform Nigeria cannot be undermined by threats of violence."

A UK aircraft that was set to join US planes attempting to locate the girls, who were seized from a school dormitory in the north east of Nigeria on April 15, was delayed yesterday due to a technical problem.

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