Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned the government to act quickly to curb out-of-school children or risk becoming Boko Haram’s 20 million members.
Mr. Obasanjo said this in Abuja on Tuesday while speaking at the National Summit on Tertiary Education Reform organized by the House of Representatives.
The summit held in Abuja was designed to provide answers to the ongoing industrial actions of the company. Union of Academic Employees of Universities (LIVES).
Mr. Obasanjo, in his speech, said the government must come up with innovative means to reduce out-of-school children. He added that there is a need to emphasize primary and secondary education in the country.
The former president said Nigeria had not lost sight of its goal of reducing out-of-school children.
“When the whole world was talking about education for all we lost the road and did not follow it. It was a bad mistake.
“Education for all! We also had a global target date. Today, we have 20 million out of 244 million children out of school, almost 10 percent. We are still missing and we are missing. That is very bad,” he said.
Mr. Obasanjo said children who do not have access to basic education may not be considered part of nation building.
“They cannot be part of nation building, because they have not had the opportunity to develop their own capacity to the extent that they can be useful to themselves, their family and the community, let alone the nation,” he said.
In his welcome remarks, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, warned that the issues that led to the eight-month strike by ASUU are yet to be resolved.
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He informed the audience that the House wants answers to solve the crisis in the tertiary education sector.
“The end of the strike did not mean that all the problems of funding, the standard of education and the welfare of students and staff had been resolved. At the time, I called on the government, universities, unions and citizens to seize the moment as an opportunity to start a critical dialogue about the future of public tertiary education in the country,” he said.
Mr. Gbajabiamila also called on the Senate to pass the pending student loan bill before the end of this administration.
“In 2019, I sponsored and the House of Representatives passed the Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill to provide access to education financing for eligible students. That bill is pending concurrence in the Senate. We hope it will reach the president before the end of this administration. “, he stated.
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