SENATE President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said, yesterday, that reports that over 10 million children were out of school was not only alarming but also a ticking time bomb.
He, however, expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to partner with stakeholders, such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, to drastically reduce the numbers.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja when a UNICEF delegation, led by its Country Representative, Mohammed Malick Fall, paid him a courtesy visit, Saraki said the legislature was “committed to do all it can to address the issue of out-of-school children through funding and material resources.
” Saraki, who lamented that Nigeria had the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, said: “This represents approximately 20 per cent of the world’s population of children that are not in school. Having 10 million children out of school is literally a ticking time bomb for our nation.
“An uneducated population will be locked in a cycle of poverty for their entire lives. Additionally, these children could constitute the next generation of suicide bombers and militant terrorists. In this regard, education is a national security priority.”
Earlier, Mr. Fall encouraged the Senate President to endorse UNICEF Nigeria’s 2017 school enrollment programme. This year’s theme is: “Education Matters…Every Nigerian Child Deserves to be in School.” He stated that UNICEF’s school enrollment campaign sought to partner education stakeholders at the state level to ensure the impact reached grassroots communities.
He said the campaign also sought to underscore the country’s commitment to free and compulsory education and to encourage states to prioritize education.
Fall thanked the Senate President and the Senate for the outstanding partnership offered over the years in the areas of child health and education, lamenting that with the statistics of about 10.5million children out of school in Nigeria, the number posed a lot of danger to the growth and development of the country.