Fears that out-of-school children may rise from 10.5m to 13mby December 2021
The Incentive Based Program, IBP of the Policy House International has said over 800 students were kidnapped within three months in the northern part of Nigeria.
The organisation which said the number was between December 2020 and March 2021, also said 60 boarding house schools had been shut down in the North due to the kidnap of school children.
A breakdown, according to IBP, revealed that while 344 students were kidnapped from Government Secondary School Kankara Kastina States, 27students were kidnapped in Government Secondary School, Kagara Niger State,and another 300 girls were also kidnapped in Government Girls’ college Kegere Zamfara State.
Executive Director IBP, Taiwo Akerele,who disclosed this, expressed concern that unless the current trend was checked, the number of out of school children in Nigeria may increase from the current 10.5 million to 13 million by December 2021
To this end,stakeholders have expressed concerns over the rising number of-out-of school children , especially in the region.
Akerele said: “From our records and estimates close to 800 students have been kidnapped between December of 2020 and March 2021. This has also resulted into the closure of boarding schools in at least three states over the period and available data shows that over 60 schools in Niger, Zamfara, Kastina and some parts of Kaduna and Sokoto states with at least an average of 600 students are affected by these sudden closures”.
The development, he said, has serious implication for academic stability, domestic finance, crime among adolescents, rising illiteracy in the region and security implications, drug, cultism and general crime.
Akerele noted that although the affected states have invested in basic infrastructure and school feeding but the general insecurity in the region has dampened educational enthusiasm among parents and children of school age.
He lamented that while other countries were doing everything to close the gap in number of out-of-school children in the society, the activities of Boko Haram, kidnappers and bandits is further deepening the Nigerian figures.
“This is particularly worrisome and pathetic for northern Nigeria that is already considered to be averagely an educationally dis- advantaged region of Nigeria,” he said.
The group, however, called on the Nigerian Government to accelerate the implementation of the lofty educational intervention programs outlined under the Alternate School Program (ASP) earlier launched in January 2021 and also called on the states government to fastrack its investment in perimeter fencing, local security arrangements and the deployment of technology in securing the schools.