Bukola Saraki, Senate President, has lamented that no fewer than 10.5 million Nigeria children are out of school.
He described the situation as “alarming and a ticking time bomb” in his reaction to the statistics on out-of-school children released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Saraki spoke on Sunday when he received a UNICEF delegation, led by its Country Representative, Mohammed Fall.
He lamented that Nigeria had the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, adding that the statistics represented approximately 20 per cent of the world’s population of such children.
Saraki warned that “an uneducated population will be locked in a cycle of poverty for their entire lives.
“Additionally, these children could constitute the next generation of suicide bombers and militants. In this regard, education is a national security priority.’’
He expressed National Assembly’s commitment to partnering stakeholders like UNICEF, to drastically reduce the number.
“The legislature is committed to doing all it can to address the issue of out-of-
school children through funding and material resources.
“The senate is already working with a few state governments which are yet to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act.
“We are determined to also improve on this and to work together to see how best to reduce drastically the level of illiteracy among our people, especially from the preliminary stage.
“The quality of our education must be in line with global best practices. We will continue to work closely with you to support your programmes.
“We plan to have an inclusive roundtable where the impediments in our education system will be identified and a plan of action designed to eliminate them”.
Earlier, Fall who urged Saraki to endorse Nigeria’s 2017 school enrolment programme by UNICEF, hailed his partnership with the body over the years in the areas of child health and education.
Fall, however, decried the statistics of 10.5 million children out-of-school in Nigeria.
“Such number poses a lot of danger to the growth and development of the country’’.
“We need additional resources, and this support requires stronger partnership with legislation.”