The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Bamidele Salam, has said that lack of access to education is the major cause of poverty and underdevelopment in many countries of the world.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the ‘National Children Leadership Conference (Abuja 2023)’ to Mark the 2023 Universal Children’s Day in Abuja on Monday, November 20, Salam also said that no nation can expect to accelerate development and growth with this number of children out of school.
He lamented the growing insecurity in the country was impacting negatively on the education sector with an increasing number of out-of-school children occasioned by constant attack by bandits.
Salam said the government must be proactive in handling the situation by providing adequate security for the nation’s schools, saying it is one of the ways to address the issue of out-of-school children in the country.
The event was organised by his Non-Governmental Organisation ‘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.
“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.
“Lack of access to 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.”
Salam said he stands with the children on their calls for a better deal to make their lives better by calling for more investment in education through increased budgetary allocations to education.
He added: “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.
“When they add their voice to advocacy, I want to tell you that the government will listen, the civil society will listen, and the community leaders will listen.
“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 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 these same things that are asking the government to do.”