Out-of-school children a national crisis, says minister




Overview Of: Out-of-school children a national crisis, says minister


Out-of-school children a national crisis, says minister

 

Every part of the country has its share of out-of-school children, Minister of Humanitarian Services, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, said yesterday.

She said it was wrong to assume that only the North has them.

The minister spoke during the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the presidential media team.

She defended the Buhari administration’s N5,000 monthly conditional cash transfer programme, describing those who say it is insufficient as elitist.

Farouk said the school feeding programme has helped to reduce the number of out-of-school children, who she said are spread across the country.

According to her, a recent survey in Makoko, Lagos; Enugu and Jos, the Plateau State capital, revealed that the situation is widespread.

She said there were about 7,000 such children in Makoko alone.

Noting that the school feeding programme has led to increased school enrolment, the Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) Umar Bindir, who the minister directed to speak on the issue, said there was the need to make people understand that it is a national problem.

He said: “Some think out-of-school children are about Almajiri in the North or a religious or a Muslim thing. But, we have established it as a national issue.

“We sent a team to Lagos. They went to Mokoko and met 7,000 out-of-school children picking things from the dirt. The guy came back shaking.

“We sent another chap to Jos, he came shaking also. We sent another guy to Enugu, and for the first time, everybody realised that out-of-school children is a national problem.”

Justifying the N5,000 transfer to the poor, the minister added: “If you look at the people that you are taking this intervention to, N5,000 means a lot to them because these are poor and vulnerable households and it changes their status. But for you and I, N5,000 is not even enough for us to buy recharge card. That’s the difference.

“When people say N5,000 does not save people, that is an elitist statement, honestly, because we’ve had causes to go to the field, and we have seen these that when you give them this N5,000, they cried and shed tears because they’ve never seen N5,000 it in their lives.

“So, it goes a long way; it changes their status and by that, it lifts them from one stage to another.”

On the exit programme for N-Power beneficiaries, which has become a source of controversy, the minister said the government plans to put about 300,000 applicants on a training programme while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will provide them with loan facilities.

 

 

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