UNESCO: AU Sole Candidate, Khattab Visits Nigeria, Seeks Support

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*Says education is key to tackling terrorism

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The sole candidate of the African Union (AU) gunning for the position of the Director General of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), Moushira Khattab, has visited Nigeria to get the nation’s support for the UN position.

The visit which is her second, affords her the opportunity to meet with acting President Yemi Osinbajo and a cross section of civil society organisations to present her credentials and as well unveil her plans of transforming the organisation and redirecting focus on the original mandate of UNESCO.

Khattab, who is from Egypt and already has the backing of her country, noted that UNESCO has a long range of human needs it carters for and disclosed that if elected to the covetous office her focus would be centered on education particularly in developing countries and Africa.

She said the major difference between developed and developing countries is education and if that gap must be reduced the developing countries must get more of education.

The diplomat emphasised that education, apart from being an inalienable right of an individual, is crucial not only in empowering an individual but bringing about positive development of people and nations. According to Khattab, Africa can only realise her target of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2063 through quality education of the people, particularly the grassroots.

She promised to work with African leaders to ensure that education is given priority in their budget so as to attract necessary funding from development agencies.

“Always, states are encouraged when they are given aid to give towards education because it’s a good investment and an enabler for achievement of other things. Also before these international organisations gives aid to any nation, they first of all look at what that country is given to education”, she said.

She added that countries also need to come up with good legislation that harmonizes with international standards.

In the area of peace building, she stressed that what the world and Nigeria needs apart from military might in defeating terrorism is education.

“You cannot deal with terrorism only with arms and security forces. You have to deal with it by immunizing the minds against indoctrination and radicalisation. I find this very effective because prevention is more cost effective than remedy,” she added.