Gombe State governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has sought the support of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, in addressing the high rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
The governor made the call in a statement issued by his Director-General Press Affairs Ismaila Uba Misilli.
Yahaya, who is on the Nigerian delegation at the ongoing 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, highlighted that several factors, including poverty, insecurity and cultural beliefs, contributed to the high number of out-of- school in Gombe and other states of the federation.
He pointed out that accelerating investment in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDGs4) which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, would help check the rising number of out-of-school children and also contribute in the fight against poverty.
“By 2019, according to the UNICEF account, there were 550,000 out of school children in Gombe alone and as of today, the numbers have risen either because of the settlement or rehabilitation of some people from the displaced states.
“You know, we share a boundary with the remaining five states of the Northeast. Therefore, most of them have relocated due to Gombe’s security and safety, adding to our own issues, and we must choose where and how.
“There ought to be around 600,000 by now, in my estimation. But in the past three or four years, we have been able to accept 350,000.
“Our goal is to ensure that each child in Gombe receives free quality education. “At the very least, up to the basic education, in accordance with the principles of universal free education as guided by the Sustainable Development Goals” he said.
The governor expressed confidence in the ability of United Nations agencies to provide technical support, expertise and resources to help address the problem.