Out-of-school children a ticking time bomb, says Saraki
The Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki has described reports that over 10 million children in the country were out of school as not only alarming but also a ticking time bomb.
He said the National Assembly was willing and ready to partner with stakeholders like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to reduce the number.
Speaking to a UNICEF delegation, led by its Country Representative, Mohammed Malick Fall, during a courtesy visit to him in Abuja, Saraki, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu said the senate is “committed to address the issue of out of school children through funding and material resources.”
He lamented that Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children in the world, adding: “This represents approximately 20 per cent of the world’s population of children that are out of school. Having 10 million children out-of -school is literally a ticking time bomb for our country.”
Saraki said an uneducated population would be locked in a cycle of poverty for their entire lives, adding that they could constitute the next generation of suicide bombers and terrorists.
He said in this regard, education was a national security priority, adding that the 8th National Assembly was determined to make laws and provide appropriate resources needed to reduce the menace.
He disclosed that the Senate was already working with some state governments who are yet to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act, noting that it was determined to improve on it and work together on how best to reduce the level of illiteracy among Nigerians, especially from the preliminary stage.
Saraki endorsed UNICEF’s school enrollment campaign in the country and thanked the Country Representative for their years of exemplary work in education and other areas.
Earlier, Fall encouraged the Senate President to endorse UNICEF Nigeria’s 2017 school enrollment programme with the theme: “Education Matters...Every Nigerian Child Deserves to be in School.”
He stated that UNICEF’s school enrollment campaign seeks to partner with the education stakeholders at the state level to ensure the impact reaches grassroots communities.