Northern governors lament rising number of out-of-school children

He decried that Northern Nigeria currently shoulders the unfortunate burden of hosting the highest number of out-of-school children globally.

The Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) has voiced deep concerns over the alarming increase in the number of out-of-school children in the region, describing it as a pressing issue that demands immediate attention.

Speaking at the forum’s meeting in Kaduna on Tuesday, Governor Muhammadu Yahaya (Gombe State), the NGF’s chair, decried that Northern Nigeria currently shoulders the unfortunate burden of hosting the highest number of out-of-school children globally.

Mr Yahaya emphasised the urgency of addressing the “unacceptable reality” and asserted that ”every child deserves access to quality education to thrive in today’s dynamic global economy.”

He stressed the moral obligation of investing substantially in education, healthcare, and social services to unleash the full potential of the youth and empower future generations.

Mr Yahaya highlighted that regional integration was a key pillar of their vision for a prosperous Northern region. He also urged deeper collaboration in infrastructure development, human capital enhancement, trade, security cooperation, and cultural exchange.

According to the governor, together, they could unlock the region’s full potential and achieve inclusive growth amid Nigeria’s competitive landscape.

Mr Yahaya reaffirmed their solidarity with fellow Northern states and reiterated the forum’s commitment to supporting one another during challenging times.

He also said they would collaborate with the federal government to provide lasting solutions to the region’s recurring security challenges.

The NGF chair disclosed the ongoing engagements with relevant stakeholders to chart a sustainable path towards peace and stability in northern Nigeria.

On the debate about state police, he advocated models built on cooperation and collaboration among northern states to enhance security.

Mr Yahaya emphasised economic development as the long-term solution to security challenges, underscoring the revitalisation of the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) as central to their economic agenda.

He urged the governors to maintain focus, sustain legacies, and explore innovative ways to invest in critical infrastructure to unlock the region’s vast industrial and economic potential.

Mr Yahaya further highlighted the importance of environmental sustainability, urging holistic approaches to promote conservation and sustainable agriculture.

He also underscored the need for responsible resource management to safeguard livelihoods and preserve natural heritage for future generations.

In his welcome address, Governor Uba Sani reiterated the forum’s resolve to address environmental challenges threatening Northern Nigeria, which exacerbate poverty and insecurity.

He extolled the progress made in degrading criminal elements and called for a common strategy and operational plan to tackle insecurity.

Mr Sani proposed the establishment of a command and control centre to coordinate joint efforts.


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