On Tuesday, Ahmad Lawan, Senate Leader lamented the growing insecurity in the North, blaming high rate of out-of-school children for banditry and insurgency in the region. Lawan expressed fears that insurgency and other security issues might continue in the region unless there was a deliberate effort to send children to school. The lawmaker said, “If we are fighting insurgency, we must be looking at the sources of recruitment. The recruits are there. Children below 17 years who are supposed to be in school are now roaming the streets.
“Even though it is controversial, the time has come for the Almajiri system established over 100 years ago to be considered and see how we can work out a system that will ensure the system should not continue in the way and manner it is today. “If we want to bring people on board, why not tamper with religious learning? Why not provide a climate conducive to these children who roam the streets to go to formal schools without compromising their learning for religious benefits?
“I believe that this is going to be a major issue because we have to transform this sector if want to ensure that these people contribute to national development and also reduce the chances and the risk of getting these people recruited for insurgency and banditry.” Lawan urged government at all levels to implement the Universal Basic Education Act passed in 2014, making education free and compulsory for all children of school age in Nigeria. He added, “We have children within the age bracket of 16, 17 and 18 when they become adults have been involved in insurgency and all manner of criminal activities, including banditry.”
Bukola Saraki, Senate President, said the Federal Government owed Nigerians a responsibility to ensure that all children had the opportunity to go to school. He said, “We have passed some bills to improve the funds for UBEC to reduce the percentage of contribution to states so that it is possible to access funds to UBEC level. “A lot of work has to be done with the new governors coming no matter what we do or say at the national level. “We owe it a duty that in this area there is a great improvement because unless we address the issues in the education sector we would not prepare our children for the challenges ahead of them.”