HILWA Decries Spate of Out-of-school Children in Katsina

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By Francis Sardauna

A non-governmental organization, High Level Women Advocates (HILWA), has decried the prevailing number of out-of-school children, particularly girls in Katsina State.

Consequently, the organisation has admonished the state government to intensify efforts in the enrollment of more children in schools in order to address the alarming rate of the menace.

This is coming as the state government said it has enrolled no fewer than 1,274,185 girls in primary and secondary schools across the state.

Speaking at a press conference in commemoration of the World International Women’s Day Tuesday, the Chairperson of HILWA, Hajiya Mariya Abdullahi, said the call became necessary considering the number of out-of-school children in the state.

“We are calling for more aggressive approach by key stakeholders through mobilization, awareness creation and sensitization for the integration of school dropouts and out-of-school children across the state.

“We are hopeful that the government of Katsina will consider the concern raised and act appropriately for the benefit of the state, education sector and for posterity,” she said.

She, however, advocated increased women participation in decision making and employment of more qualified female teachers to teach in both pre-primary, primary and secondary schools across the state.

The HILWA chairperson explained that the organisation is working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to assist the girl-child possess relevant educational qualification before marriage.

Also speaking, the state Coordinator, Girls Education Project (GEP3), Rosemary Effiong, said UNICEF was committed to the socio-economic development of women in the country, calling for more empowerment of women and children.

On her part, the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in Katsina State, Safiya Badamasi Umar, said the increasing cases of rape and domestic violence in the state is worrisome.

Umar emphatically warned that no offender would go unpunished, saying that rape, domestic violence and child abuse are crimes and must be treated as such.

She said: “As a prosecutor in the Ministry of Justice, we have a lot of rape cases in the state. A lots of girls are being raped but we are doing our best to prosecute the men that are behind the cases.

“The percentage of rape cases is very high in Katsina State. We have secured a lot of convictions on rape cases in the state and we are still prosecuting more cases.

“There are so many factors behind rape; some of the rape cases are for rituals; some are as a result of poverty and some are for pleasure.”

However, the state government said it has enrolled no fewer than 1,274,185 girls in primary and secondary school across the state.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Halima Othman, disclosed this during a two-day workshop organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the State Universal Basic Education Board recently.

She added that 1,387,709 boys have been enrolled in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools in the state.