Abuja - As Nigeria marks the Children’s Day, ActionAid Nigeria on Wednesday said nearly 10.5 million children of school age were currently out of school.
This was contained in a statement signed by its Communications Analyst, Onyinyechi Okechukwu, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
It quoted Ojobo Atuluku, the Country Director, as stating that over the past few years, scores of school children had been either killed, kidnapped and displaced internally, especially in the North East Zone.
“In the past two years, over 100 students have been killed in different attacks on schools in the North East, with over 1 000 kidnapped or abducted.
“10.5 million Nigerian children of school going age are currently out of school, the highest number in the world and about 60 per cent are girls and most live in the North of the country”, it said.
The Country Director also expressed concern at the dwindling quality of education in the country, saying this poses a threat to quality adult life for the young generation.
“The quality of education has continued on a free fall and this is evident in the performance of students in external exams.
“As established in recent studies, the country has neglected to invest in relevant infrastructure that would facilitate learning for the Nigerian child.
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“Providing reliable and comfortable learning environment for children is a rights issue which is also tied to securing a future for the children,’’ Atuluku stated.
She said that the issue of infant and child death cannot be over emphasized, adding that the country had made top lists globally in recording under– five mortality death rate.
Atuluku also said the country loses about 2 300 children who are under five years every day, urging government to invest more in maternal and child health care.
“The Nigerian government needs to ensure the justifiability of the rights of the Nigerian child.
“Government officials, who fail to provide and guarantee these rights, could be tried and sentenced if found guilty,’’Atuluku stated.
She said it was time for the government to move away from rhetoric and become more accountable on the protection of the rights of every single Nigerian child.