Monday, June 12, 2017

Nigeria Is On The Verge Of Disaster, A Ticking Time Bomb - Bukola Saraki

Dr. Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate, has said that Nigeria might soon have to face the wrath of children left out of school, if proper attention is not given.

Saraki who described it as 'alarming and a ticking time bomb' the no fewer than 10.5 million children in the country believed to be out of school, says it is now or never to save the nation from implosion.

The Senate President was reacting to the statistics on out-of-school children released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, on Sunday, June 11, in Abuja.

Saraki, who spoke when he received a UNICEF delegation, led by its Country Representative, Mohammed Fall, said that the situation called for urgent attention by relevant stakeholders.

He lamented that Nigeria had the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, adding that the statistics represented approximately 20 per cent of the world’s population of such children, PremiumTimes reports.

He said “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 militants. In this regard, education is a national security priority.''

Nigeria has to be taken more seriously, there are signs that indicate the possibility of an implosion, one of them being the increasing rate at which children are left out of school

The President of the Senate expressed National Assembly’s commitment to partnering stakeholders like UNICEF, to drastically reduce the number.

He said that the 8th National Assembly was determined to make laws needed to drastically address the menace.

“The legislature is committed to doing all it can to address the issue of out-of-school children through funding and material resources.

“The senate is already working with a few state governments which are yet to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act.

“We are determined to also improve on this and to work together to see how best to reduce drastically the level of illiteracy among our people, especially from the preliminary stage.

“The quality of our education must be in line with global best practices. We will continue to work closely with you to support your programmes.

“We plan to have an inclusive roundtable where the impediments in our education system will be identified and a plan of action designed to eliminate them.

“I am confident that your contributions at that stage will be very useful,” he said.

Saraki endorsed the school enrolment campaign of UNICEF in the country and thanked its Country Representative for their years of exemplary work in education and other areas.

Earlier, Mr. Fall had urged Saraki to endorse Nigeria’s 2017 school enrolment programme by UNICEF.

He said that the fund’s school enrolment campaign sought to partner the education stakeholders at the state level to ensure that the impact reached the grassroots.

Mr Fall said that the campaign also sought to underscore the country’s commitment to free and compulsory education and to encourage states to prioritise education.

He commended the president of the senate for the outstanding partnership offered to UNICEF over the years in the areas of child health and education.

He, however, decried the statistics of 10.5 million children out-of-school in Nigeria, saying “such number poses a lot of danger to the growth and development of the country’’.

“We need additional resources, and this support requires stronger partnership with legislation.”

In a similar vein, the first African President of the International Geographical Union, Professor Akin Mabogunje, has declared that the present political situation in the country occasioned by the agitations from various quarters for restructuring or secession is no doubt a resemblance of what led to the first military coup on January 15th, 1966.

It was gathered that Mabogunje who was the first African to be elected as a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences, however, lamented that despite various reforms, policies and amendments by successive governments including the military to get the country on track, all the factors both remote and immediate causes that led to the collapsed of the first republic have again surfaced and manifesting.

He spoke in Ibadan on Saturday June 10 at the first Seminal Series 2017 of Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) under the theme “Prebendalism and the Nigerian Project: Reflections of Democracy and Development since 2015”.

He said: “I think the people should start thinking on how we can come out of this quagmire, because it is like that of 1966 when people are thinking of how to get out of the Nigeria project”.

Mabogunje who is also the Chairman, ISGPP Governing Board while speaking with journalists, suggested a true federalism characterised by justice, equity and fairness.

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