Written by Godfrey AKON

FCT, 10 states have 8mn out of schoolchildren - UNICEF

The Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and ten states in Nigeria account for about eight million out-of-school children, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has disclosed.

UNICEF, in a statement by its Communications Specialist, Mr Geoffery Njoku, said about 2,000 youth across the ten states and Abuja presented petitions to their governors, parliamentarians, policymakers and other influential persons in a mass effort to draw attention to the need to act on commitments to increasing access to safe, quality education for all children, especially girls. 

The statement noted that the mass action which occurred on Sunday June 16, 2019 with the support of UNICEF, comes as the world celebrates the Day of the African Child, commemorating the day in 1976 that hundreds of students were shot in Soweto, South Africa, while demonstrating for their right to quality education.

“The 10 states where the mass actions are taking place, Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba and the FCT, have about  eight million children not in school and, an average enrolment rate of only 57 per cent.

“The Nigerian campaign for access to quality education will hold the newly-elected government officials at all levels accountable for their campaign promises to provide equitable access to free, safe and quality education for every child, especially the girl child, in Nigeria.

“The global theme for this year’s Day of the African child is child rights in all situations, including during humanitarian crises,” the statement read.

According to the fund, over 10.5 million children are unable to access safe and quality education in Nigeria today because of the ongoing crisis in the north-east, which has left schools destroyed, adding that teachers were unavailable, and parents were terrified to send their children to school due to insecurity.

The statement quoted UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria, Peter Kawkins, as saying “Schools should be a safe place for children – one in which they can get a quality education that will put them on the path to a secure future,” UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

“Sadly, the demand for quality education by children in Soweto, South Africa in 1976, is still valid today, in too many countries around the world. The youth actions we are seeing today across several states is a wakeup call for leaders to act on their commitments to provide quality education for all children, in all situations.”

 

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