By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja — The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has called on Nigerians, especially civil society organizations, to make states and local government’s account for the hundreds of billions of naira budgeted for education over the years.
According to him, the violent crises plaguing the nation, such as extremism, terrorism and criminality, have been traced to either lack of education or no education at all.
Speaking on the occasion of the second anniversary of the kidnap of Chibok girls and the “Roundtable Discussion on Vulnerable People and Conflicts Situation in Nigeria,” the Vice President opined that there was little advocacy to ensure that states, local governments and even the Federal Government made enough provision for education of children, and in particular, the vulnerable.
He said: “As you all know, it is the responsibility of the states and local governments to ensure primary school education is not toyed with. It is a known fact that this has not been done over the years which has led to an army of millions of idle hands easy to deceive.
“Some people have to be held accountable. Of the 10.4 million children out of school, for instance, the vast majority of them are girls and these are the vulnerable group.”
Wants Chibok girls brought back safely
On the Chibok girls, Osinbajo noted that bringing back the girls safely was an issue which Buhari’s administration was taking seriously, noting, however, that Nigerians should not forget that before Chibok, there were the Bunu Yadi boys at Bunu Yadi Secondary School in Yobe State, where 59 of them were killed in their boarding house just a couple of months before the Chibok incident.
He said: “Of course, there were several others who had been abducted and killed at various times before those incidents. But you cannot say the girls will be brought back next week or by this day. Every rescue attempt must take into account the safety of the girls.
Citing poverty as a fallout that must be tackled to checkmate this malaise, he said: “In societies where you have extremely poor people, and large numbers of poor people, there must be a different way of looking at how you prepare and how you plan for that society.
“You must have a greater attention paid to how to provide for the very large numbers of the poor, who cannot catch up in any way because they are far too poor and may not even live long enough to enjoy those things predicated in budgets.”
“So we must pay some attention to how we design government programmes and budgets. We must take into account the poverty of our people, question of education and health care should go along with that, especially education and healthcare for the most vulnerable is important.
“That is why one of the chief concerns of this government has been the social investment we are trying to make and which was provided for in the budget.
“About N500 billion has been provided for social interventions, including conditional cash transfers to the very poorest, including loans to market women and persons, who are engaged in informal trade, about a million of those, even in compiling the names and list of those who are the poorest, has been a difficult process, but we have been greatly assisted by the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation.’’
On his part, Interior Minister, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), in his address, said one of the fallouts of the Chibok girls’ abduction was the test case it placed on security agencies, especially the intelligence community and the capacity to respond to such intelligence.