Kogi Commissioner: W’Bank Has Pegged Child Rights Law as  Precondition for States to Access $500m Grant

Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Wumi Jones has disclosed that the World Bank has made the child rights law a precondition for states to access the multilateral institution’s Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) grants.

This he revealed was a precondition for the eleven participating states in Nigeria.

Jones, made this known while receiving the state child rights law advocacy team during the visit to the State Ministry of Education, science and technology by the state child rights law cluster in the Commissioner’s office.

The commissioner explained that Kogi State was among the eleven states that would access part of the $500 million earmarked by the World Bank to fund the AGILE Project, which aims at improving secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas in the participating states including Kogi state.

He stressed that Kogi State like every other participating state, must fulfil the precondition required for accessing the fund, which would assist the state achieve its policy objectives in girl child education priority initiated for the African developing countries by the World Bank.

He  pointed out the state was lucky to have domesticated the child rights law since 2019, with the nine functional family courts in operation out of the 21 family courts required based on the provisions of the child rights law, 2023.

“Our governor is committed to any project that adds value to life in Kogi State and the child rights law scale project is of immense value to us as a government committed to serving the people to live a better life, where children are given rightful priority in the scheme of things,” Jones said.

He added that the state needs full implementation of the child rights law as it prepares for the next phase of it full implementation without hiccups, assuring the state that Governor, Yahaya Bello has the political will to implement the child rights law.

“We at the Ministry of Education will work with other relevant ministries to ensure the setting up of the state child rights law implementation committee and be rest assured that Governor Yahaya Bello will certainly give priority to full implementation of the child rights law having demonstrated unrivaled commitment to the educational development of our children through the holistic  overhaul of the educational system in the state, which has yielded noticeable improvement in our educational infrastructure.

“The funding, planning as well as the execution of the laudable educational developments and projects were as a result of the efficiency in our educational system. And, we believe the child rights law is an impetus to educational development in the state,” he added.

According to the World Bank, the development objective of the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment Project is to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas in participating states in Nigeria.

The AGILE project has 30 years maturity period and five years grace, and the project has three components which include: creating Safe and Accessible Learning Spaces; (Creating new safe learning spaces in secondary schools, Improving existing infrastructure in secondary schools); Fostering an enabling environment for girls, towards empowering girls with critical life skills knowledge for navigating adulthood and digital literacy skills; project management and system strengthening for sustainability and technical assistance among others.

The team leader of the child rights law Advocacy cluster, Mr. Titus Alonge, appealed to Kogi state government to approve full implementation of the child rights law to bring about full realisation of the key five Policy Demands of the CRL from this year’s budget.

Alonge said the project takes precedence over everything else as he urged the state government to take a pragmatic approach to CRL implementation rather than the current piecemeal approach.

“We hope Governor Yahaya Bello will dispassionately approve the five key demands; ensure release of budgetary funding; takes pragmatic approach to CRL implementation this year.

“We also expect the government to take ownership of the child rights law Advocacy and implement the law with promptitude, vigour, tenacity and courage,” he added.

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