Okon Bassey in Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government has disagreed with the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBC) and the Federal Ministry of Education that the state harboured the highest number of out of schools children and unemployment rates in the country.
The state government described the rating as a propaganda directed at rubbishing the progress, successes and breakthrough recorded by the state in the last four years of the state administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Directorate of Marketing and Brand Management, Mr. Sam Edoho faulted the rating at a news conference on the new slogan or campaign to mark the 2019 Democracy Day celebration in the state.
The slogan reads, “Akwa Ibom: Celebrating a Secured Future”
The special assistant said the state government was astonished by the statistics spooned out by some federal government agencies, rating the state very low, especially in prevalence of “out of school children and unemployment rates.”
He said the fact that the federal agencies that once gave Akwa Ibom thumps up in one fell swoop suddenly switched to red inks becomes very suspicious giving a picture that our progress and positive image is making some people uncomfortable and jealous.
Edoho said it was a bizarre the report that claims that 1.3 million Akwa Ibom people representing 37.7 percent were jobless as at the third quarter of 2018.
According to him, during the months under review, the state government recruited 5, 000 teachers for secondary schools and 3, 000 teachers for primary schools, making it 8, 000 jobs in teaching profession alone.
Edoho added that the FDI which the state is rated as being second after Lagos has given birth to sixteen industries in the state with hundreds of the citizens employed to enhance operations.
He argued that the NBS must have also omitted in her rating thousands of Akwa Ibom people registered for the CBN anchor borrowers’ scheme, thousands of others that embrace agriculture under the present state regime; thousands of the citizens that benefited from the N2 billion interest free loan scheme for small scale entrepreneurs and traders.
“With these development and figures, including the thousands of youth working at different construction sites across the state, Akwa Ibom State cannot in all credibility be said to have such a high rate of unemployment even worse than the prevalence level in even war ravaged states in this country.” he stressed.
Similarly, the state government insisted and opposed the verdict of the Federal Ministry of Education on Out of School Children rating saying it was very far from the truth.
The state government noted that in the last quarter of 2018, headcount of school kids that were between age 6 and 11carried out across the federation by National Population Audit (NPA) had it that between 2016 and 2018 Akwa Ibom state recorded 40 percent increase in pupil’s enrolment.