78th UNGA: Gombe Governor Seeks UNICEF Support To Address Menace Of Out-of-School Children

Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, CON has sought the support of UNICEF and other agencies of the United Nations in addressing the issue of out-of-school children in his state and Northern Nigeria. 

The Governor highlighted that several factors, including poverty, insecurity, and cultural beliefs, have 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 also aid and contribute to the fight against poverty.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya, who is on the Nigerian delegation at the ongoing 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, made the call while speaking with journalists after the SDGs’ summit, according to statement by his media aide Ismaila Uba Misilli. 

He spoke on efforts to bring down the number of out of school children in Gombe State, which according to him has been very difficult because of the surge in number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from neighboring states. “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.”

While the Governor outlined some strategies that his administration employed to tackle the issue of out-of-school children, he added that he had already met with some UN agencies including the UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund seeking support in addressing the growing menace.

The Governor explained that his administration took some measures, including the establishment of community-based schools;  construction, renovation and equipping of schools; distribution of learning materials to children, and sensitization campaigns to educate parents on the importance of sending their children to school. 

While the strategies have yielded some positive results, Governor Inuwa acknowledged that more needs to be done, which is why he has sought the support of UNICEF and other international partners. 

He expressed confidence in the ability of UN agencies to provide technical support, expertise, and resources to help address this critical issue.

 “I have been able to meet with UNICEF, UNFPA, and other agencies of the United Nations to make sure that we get the support required so that we can uplift the lives and livelihoods of our people. Especially in the Northern region where there are a lot of challenges with regards to insecurity and poverty. So, we are strengthening collaboration to address challenges in our state, region, and country,” the Governor said.

Inuwa, who is also the Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum further explained that he was part of President Tinubu’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly to support the effort of the Federal Government to address critical issues in the country. 

He said, “As a subnational, whatever affects the nation affects us all. It is the combination of the states that makes the federation. So we will be meeting and engaging other world leaders to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in order to deliver on the needs of the Nigerian people, and in particular, for Gombe state”.

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