House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services on Wednesday said that it is embarrassing that in 2021 we still have children sitting on the floor or learning under trees.
The Committee in a statement signed by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, Professor Julius Ihonvbere and Hon. Usman Zanna, titled “Protect our children” said that it is surprising to still have dilapidated buildings in school premises with the risks they pose to our children; and that there are schools without water, playgrounds, adequate furniture and toilets which encourages open defecation.
The statement reads, “It is equally important to note that many of our schools still lack perimeter fencing of any form which ordinarily is the first line of defence for our schools against rampaging kidnappers, ritualists, drug peddlers, hawkers, suicide bombers and terrorists.
The Basic Education and Services Committee also draw attention to the growing numbers of out-of-school and not-in-school children numbering between 11 to 13 million in Nigeria.
This they said is an army of potential recruits for the enemies of good governance and democracy.
While commending the Federal Government on initiating the Alternate School Programme, as one of its numerous efforts to address this issue, the Committee said they believe that governments can address these issues and more through a strategic utilization of budgetary provisions, grants from development partners and the matching grants from the Universal Basic Education Commission(UBEC).
“More needs to be done including funding, monitoring and evaluation of the initiatives. States and local governments also have direct responsibility on this challenge especially as all out-of-school and not-in-school children live in local governments and states.
“The House Committee on Basic Education congratulates Nigerian children on this auspicious day. While we continue to express concern over the fate of our children that are still under captivity and those that have died in the hands of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers. We acknowledge that today gives us room to reflect on the rights of our children to good education, social security, safety, and love.
“Our children have always made us proud. Many, inspite of the challenges in our school system, have excelled in sports, science, the arts and mathematics at regional, national and global competitions. We celebrate them and encourage them never to give up and to inspire their fellow children.
“Today provides an opportunity for governments at all levels to rededicate themselves to the implementation of the Child Rights Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and the growing need to reform, reposition and revamp basic education in Nigeria.
“We urge all the agencies in the education sector to continue to retool adequately for a purposeful post-Covid education delivery system for the protection and advancement of our children. Happy Children’s Day to all Nigerian children.”