The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday urged the government to take the necessary measures to prevent schools from violent attacks. Chairman, Bamidele Salam, made the call at the National Children Leadership Conference (Abuja 2023) to mark the 2023 Universal Children’s Day in Abuja.
According to him, the security situation in the country has made it necessary for extra security measures to protect students from terror attacks. Salam blamed the increase in the number of out-of-school children on a lack of adequate security in schools.
He said: “It is not cheering news that Africa’s largest economy, the biggest nation in the black world has a number of out-of-school children that is the most in all the countries of the world. 13.5 million children are out of school.
“No nation can expect to accelerate development and growth with this number of children out of school, and we should be able to proffer solutions to this problem in a manner that will be sustainable to ensure that all stakeholders, government, civil societies, communities, religious bodies, put hands together to make sure that we take the children off the street from begging, from roaming about the streets and to the school because a lack of access to education is the major cause of poverty and underdevelopment in any country.
“We also have an interesting discussion on school security. In certain parts of this country, it is unfortunate that, for a child to go to school, we need extra security because of attacks on children by hoodlums.
“We also have various types of threats, especially for the girl child in different parts of the federation. And these are things that we believe that as government, as community leaders, as opinion moulders, as civil society people we should all focus our attention on doing.”
The chairman demanded a better deal to make life better for children through more investment in education through increased budgetary allocations to education. He added: “This is the product of a deep engagement they have had. They have had six plenary sessions from Friday when they arrived in camp and they have discussed all these issues and realized that their own voice can be louder than it is today.
“And when they add their voice to advocacy, I want to tell you that the government will listen, the civil society will listen, and the community leaders will listen. And so, children are asking that a minimum of 15 per cent of our national budget should be committed to education and that, the government should be more proactive in tackling issues of out-of-school children, issues of insecurity in schools, issues of the girl child education and ensure that, we didn’t just mouth these things, we don’t just make them slogans, but we make them actionable plans and we follow through with actions.”
The event was organised by the Children of Africa Leadership and Values Development Initiative (CALDEV) with the theme: “Rebuilding Nigerian Through Investment in Children’s Education, Welfare and Security’’.