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ActionAid Alleges Government Paying Lip-service to Free First Nine Years of Schooling

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ActionAid Alleges Government Paying Lip-service to Free First Nine Years of Schooling
…Demands Immediate Government Action to End Educational Exclusion of Poor Children

By: Michael Mike

ActionAid Nigeria has alleged that the government is only paying lip service to the avowed policy of free education to children in their first nine years of schooling, insisting that a massive number of children are still being denied their right due to inadequate resources, poor infrastructure, and a lack of transparency in the use of public funds.

A statement on Monday by the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Andrew Mamedu demanded an immediate government action to end educational exclusion of poor children in the country.

The statement read: “ActionAid Nigeria vehemently disapproves the failure of the Nigerian government to provide quality education to children from poor backgrounds- one of its most vulnerable citizens. Despite the free education policy that was enacted to cater for children in their first nine years of schooling, a massive number of children are still being denied their right due to inadequate resources, poor infrastructure, and a lack of transparency in the use of public funds. This is a shocking dereliction of duty.

“This obvious inaction by the government is a clear betrayal of the trust placed in them by the citizens. The inconsistent working relationship between federal and state governments has resulted in a catastrophic failure of coordination, prioritization, and curriculum development. This is unacceptable and must be addressed immediately.”

Mamedu added that: The outrageously high number of poorest children who are out of school is a direct consequence of the government’s appalling neglect of public services.”

Mamedu said: “According to the Nigerian Education Factsheet by UNICEF, about one fourth of the children of primary school completion age did not complete primary education. Moreover, there’s a staggering wealth-based disparity, as 97 per cent of children from the richest families complete primary school, compared to just 34 per cent from the poorest families.

“The gap widens in senior secondary school, where 90 per cent from wealthy families complete their education, versus a mere 16 per cent from poor families.”
He lamented that: “There are also significant ethnic disparities- children from Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Ibibio, and Edo backgrounds tend to have higher completion rates, while those from Fulani and Kanuri backgrounds face lower rates of educational attainment.”

He said he firmly believes that “Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that all children have access to quality education.”

He added that: “The current state of education in Nigeria is a crisis, and we assert that the government takes immediate action to address these issues and prioritize the future of our children.”

Mamedu said: “ActionAid strongly demands that the government: Implements the policy of free education for the first nine years of schooling effectively, without delay; Improves coordination and prioritization between federal and state governments, to ensure a unified approach to education; Increases transparency in the allocation and use of public funds for education, to ensure that resources are being used effectively; Allocates sufficient funds for infrastructure development and improving the school experience for children, to provide a safe and supportive learning environment.”

He said: “It’s time for the government to step up and fulfill its responsibility to provide a decent education for all, without excuses or exceptions.”

ActionAid Alleges Government Paying Lip-service to Free First Nine Years of Schooling

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Humanitarian Funding: EU Allocates €31.5 million to Address Needs of Vulnerable People in Nigeria

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Humanitarian Funding: EU Allocates €31.5 million to Address Needs of Vulnerable People in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

The European Union is providing €201 million in humanitarian funding to address the needs of the most vulnerable people affected by the humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria.

Nigeria with specifically benefits €31.5 million

The announcement was made on the occasion of the Senior Officials Meeting on Sahel and Lake Chad, attended on Tuesday by Commissioner Janez Lenarčič in Brussels.

The funding will support food security and assistance for malnutrition, health care and protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter and education activities, as well as the transportation of humanitarian workers and supplies to remote and inaccessible locations.

A statement on Tuesday said, “the EU humanitarian aid response will continue to focus on the countries and areas directly affected by ongoing insecurity and conflict, including West Africa’s coastal countries already impacted by the spill-over from Central Sahel.The overall funding will support humanitarian projects in: Burkina Faso (€26.9 million); Cameroon (€21 million); Chad (€57.9 million, including the newly allocated €8.7 million in response to the consequences of the conflict in Sudan to the neighbouring countries and another €3.1 million to support an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation in the East, in addition to the initial €45.3 million announced by Commissioner Lenarčič during his visit to the country at the end of January 2024);

“Mali (€24 million); Mauritania (€5.7 million, including the reinforcement of €3 million allocated in January 2024 in response to the increasing number of Malian refugees in Mauritania); Niger (€24.6 million); and Nigeria (€31.5 million).”

EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said: “Insecurity, violence and over a decade of armed conflict is driving communities in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions to new depths of suffering. Today, over 35 million people across these regions are in need of aid, while the humanitarian crisis is now spilling over into West Africa’s coastal countries. At the same time, we are facing an increasingly shrinking response capacity and humanitarian access. It is therefore crucial that the international community scales up its efforts to bridge the growing gap between human need and available resources. The EU is doing its part by increasing its pledge for 2024 to over 200 million euros across the two regions. I urge the rest of the international community to play it part.”

The funding also supports the response to epidemics and population movement, through the allocation of €2.4 million through the Emergency Toolbox, an instrument to assist in sudden-onset crises specifically dedicated to emergency response for vulnerable people outside the EU.

According to the statement, the humanitarian situation faced by the population in the countries of Sahel and Lake Chad regions is alarming. More than 35 million people need humanitarian assistance in 2024 across Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria. This represents one in five people in the Central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger) countries. Despite this, this crisis remains largely underfunded: in 2023, humanitarian appeals for the three Central Sahel countries received only about one third of funds required.

The statement also singled out Insecurity and violence as the main causes of the humanitarian crisis, with multiple consequences in terms of protection of the people affected, but also on their food security, on forced displacement, or on the functioning of basic services, noting that the food and nutrition crisis is one of the major negative consequences of the on-going armed conflicts. In the two regions, more than 46 million people are projected to be in food crisis between June and August 2024. The worrying trend is both on the scale of the food crisis and on its severity, with a 105% increase of the number of the population falling in food crisis, compared to the average over the last five years.

It said another worrying dimension of the humanitarian crisis is the number of people forced to flee their place of origin: the countries of Sahel and Lake Chad regions are now hosting more than 10 million internally displaced persons and refugees. The numerous attacks on civilians have led to increased forced displacement and also affects education. By March this year, more than 12 000 schools were closed due to insecurity, affecting more than 2.2 million children.

It decried that the delivery of aid and the access to local populations in conflict-affected areas remain limited. Rules imposed by non-state armed groups and by regular armed forces often result in denial of access, restrictions in the movement of civilians, bureaucratic impediments, arbitrary detentions of humanitarian staff, abductions and other forms of retaliation. The humanitarian community is still present, but the humanitarian assistance provided is not sufficient to cover the needs and the capacity of humanitarian actors to deliver life-saving assistance is in some cases also hindered by national regulations. Needs will have to be addressed by both humanitarian aid and development assistance.

Humanitarian Funding: EU Allocates €31.5 million to Address Needs of Vulnerable People in Nigeria

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Touray: Unity of ECOWAS Member States Key to Ending Security Threat in West Africa

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Touray: Unity of ECOWAS Member States Key to Ending Security Threat in West Africa

By: Michael Mike

The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr Omar Alieu Touray has said unity of all member states of the regional bloc is key to achieving maximum success in the battle against the pervasive threat of insecurity.

The President made the call in his message on the commemoration of the 49th anniversary of ECOWAS with the theme: “Strengthening Regional Unity, Peace and Security”, adding that everything must be done to preserve the unity of the region.

Touray, in a statement, said the theme of this year was chosen to reflect the current challenges and also to remind the Community of the need to work to preserve regional unity and peace, two cherished objectives set by ECOWAS Founding Fathers.

He noted that: These are goals that the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government work to safeguard every day through their efforts to ensure the security of our people and protect the integrity of our territories”.

He recalled that the Heads of State and Government of fifteen West African Countries established ECOWAS when they signed the ECOWAS Treaty on the 28th of May 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria.

He said neither the founding fathers nor the present or future generations would understand or forgive any breakup of the Community.

Touray said: “Precisely 49 years ago, the Founding Fathers signed the treaty creating the Economic Community of West African States. Since then, ECOWAS has served the region and continues to unite our peoples around the common ideals of shared prosperity.

“It is clear that we must stay united if we want to be successful in the fight against insecurity. But it is our unity which now stands threatened. We must do everything to preserve our unity “because to quote General Yakubu Gowon, one of the founding fathers of ECOWAS.

“We are convinced that in unity, we will preserve peace and strengthen our actions for the security of our Member States and our people”.

He added that through unity, we will preserve regional stability and the harmonious political and socio-economic development of our community Dr Touray said that in face of insecurity and other challenges the region has achieved tangible and positive results.

“ECOWAS may have realized many achievements, but the Community continues to face a number of challenges. As we celebrate our 49thanniversary, insecurity continues to threaten our region. Some of our member states are battling terrorist groups on a daily basis and large number of our population face displacement and food insecurity

“As we celebrate ECOWAS 49th anniversary, let us recall some of the tangible and positive results the Community has to its credit. These achievements can be seen in many areas including free movement of our people, Intra Community trade, regional energy, and transport infrastructure, governance as well as in peace and Security”

According to Touray, “We remain convinced that together we can build on these achievements and attain the objectives in our Vision 2050 “of a fully integrated Community of peoples in a peaceful and prosperous region with strong institutions that respect fundamental freedoms and work towards inclusive and sustainable development”.

Touray: Unity of ECOWAS Member States Key to Ending Security Threat in West Africa

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Tinubu’s achievements in education is tremendous – Sajoh

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Tinubu’s achievements in education is tremendous – Sajoh

By: Yakub Yakub

A former Commissioner of Information and Strategy in Adamawa, Mallam Ahmed Sajoh, says the Ministry of Education has done significantly well within the one year of President Ahmed Tinubu administration.

Sajoh made this known in an interview with the newsmen on the education sector.

Sajoh said that the administration understood the position of education as real catalyst for national development and gave it the desired attention.

Sajoh, who is a member of the Independent Media and Policy Initiative (IMPI), said the commencement of the student loan scheme was a bold step that would ensure access to education for many students from poor families.

“The actulization of the Students Loan scheme is a bold step by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ensure that every eligible child gets quality higher education in Nigeria no matter the circumstances of their birth.

“It’s launch is not only historic but revolutionary. Children who would have been deprived of access of quality tertiary education will surely be availed such opportunities under the Students Loan scheme,” Sajoh said.

According to him, the appointment of Prof. Tahir Mamman who spent his entire professional life promoting learning and knowledge as Minister of Education was a right choice that’s yielding results in repositioning the sector.

“Working on the matching orders of President Tinubu, Mamman set out to actualize the education roadmap of the Renewed Hope Agenda by setting up a panel to study the situation and come up with a comprehensive blueprint for the repositioning of the Education.

“He didn’t just involve fellow academicians alone, he mixed them with industry players including long term directors in the Ministry who have a lot of institutional memories.

“Prof Tahir Mamman understood that every academic study can be enriched by some validation exercises. He promptly set up a two-step validation process. First he established a small team of experts and asked them to explore the study contents and come up with a working document.”

Sajoh said that the development came up with a holistic education system for Nigeria, adding that the introduction of skills acquisition training for students at the primary and secondary level would make them self reliant.

“Another core component of the new education policy is the introduction of skill-sets, as part of the curricular at both basic and post basic levels..

“One key area this policy is expected to truly make a difference is in the reintroduction of the skills component in the education system at the basic and secondary levels.

“In the area of research and development, the Federal Ministry of Education under the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration has sponsored 185 researchers, supported 44 teams of 176 researchers and upgraded 24 centers of excellence.

“The net effect is that about 80 books have been written and published. All of them are tailor made for the Nigerian learning ecosystem, 868 Academic Research journals were procured in addition to over three million assorted books and 376,262 E-Resources,” Sajoh said.

According to him, training and retraining of teaching and non teaching staff by the ministry of education received serious attention within the past one year of Tinubu administration.

Tinubu’s achievements in education is tremendous – Sajoh

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