By Gloria Ikibah
Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Rep. Bamidele Salam, has said there's need for children to have extra security in schools in some parts of the country due to attacks by bandits, insurgents and other criminal elements.
He stated this at the “National Children Leadership Conference (Abuja 2023)”, held to celebrate the 2023 Universal Children's Day in Abuja on Monday, with the Theme: ‘Rebuilding Nigerian Through Investment In Children's Education, Welfare And Security'.
Naijablitznews.com reports that the event was organised by the “Children of Africa Leadership And Values Development Initiative (CALDEV)”.
He said, “One of the very important issues this conference is set out to address is the issue of Out-Of-School Children. It is not a 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 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 off the children from the street from begging, from roaming about the streets and to the school. Because lack ofacces sto education is the major cause of poverty and underdevelopment in any country of the world.
“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 bandits and 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”.
Rep. Salam said he stands with the children on their calls for a better deal to make their lives better as he wants more investment in education through increased budgetary allocations to education.
“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 they have come to the realization that, their own voice can be louder than what it is today.
“And when they add their voice to an 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% 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.
“And these children I assure you will go back to their various schools and communities to become advocates for thk3ese same things that are asking the government to do”, he added.