Worried by the level of insecurity in the country and its attendant attacks on schools and abduction of students and teachers by bandits, the Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, has said that there cannot be any meaningful development in the education sector unless the safety of lives of students and teachers, as well as the school property and facilities are guaranteed.
The governor stated this during the official flag-off of the North Central Zone 2022 National Campaign on Out-of-School Children, which took place at the Government House in Minna, the state capital.
Governor Bello, who is also the Chairman of the North Central States Governors’ Forum (NCSGF), however, noted that the security challenges faced by the state, as well as its land mass constituted major challenges to be considered by the Federal Ministry of Education to achieve the desired goal of the campaign to return out-ofschool children to classroom.
He pointed out that due to the insecurity challenges confronting the state, like other parts of the country, most parents have found it difficult to release their children and wards to go to school.
The governor stressed: “Obviously, anywhere there is insecurity, you don’t expect parents to allow their kids to go to school especially in situations where they are being kidnapped for ransom.
“We need to apply more efforts towards addressing issues of security and making our communities safe because, if they are not safe, it will be difficult to convince children to go out to school.
“While we make efforts to reduce the number of out-of-school children, we should make more efforts in ensuring that we provide security to protect lives and property in schools.” He, however, reiterated that the security challenges, if addressed, would ensure a smooth and rapid growth in the education sector.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba said the Federal Ministry of Education was interfacing with the Niger State Government towards ensuring that children were taken out of streets and returned back to school.
He said the ministry had reviewed the work done by Niger State in its education sector in the past seven years, reaffirming that a huge progress had already been made in the number of school en-rollment.
On the challenges faced by the state, the Minister, who said that the Federal Government was aware of the security challenges, added that President Muhammadu Buhari had already directed that all security agencies should be on ground to tackle insecurity in the state.
Nwajuiba, therefore, assured the governor that the Niger State government would receive more support like every other state, especially in the light of its own peculiar security circumstances in order to be able to deal with all perceived obstacles in the educational sector.
Meanwhile, the Minister also disclosed that remote learning facilities had already been put in place to manage school distance and to ensure proximity