EU, UNICEF to Enroll 500,000 Out-of-School Children in North-west Region

Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto

The European Union and UNICEF through its newly launched Education and Youth Empowerment in the North-west Nigeria programme is to enroll 500,000 out-of-school children in the region.

The Ambassador of the European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi, stated this while addressing journalists shortly after meeting Governor Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto State on some of the intervention process of the programme.

The programme, which is being sponsored by the European Union in collaboration with its implementing partners, UNICEF, is targeting at ensuring adequate reduction in the number of out-of-school children in the state.

He said: “We appreciate the efforts of the federal and the state governments to really tackle the many issues affecting this part of the country.

“In spite of the efforts, we realised that education in this part of the country is still lagging behind compare to other parts of the country.

“That is why we have decided to join our partners, including the state government and the UNICEF, to support education in Sokoto State.

“This programme is that of 40 million Euros and it involves three states in the Northwest-Sokoto, Kano and Jigawa States.

“We really hope that together with the government and UNICEF, we will make a difference in supporting, particularly the out-of-school children.

“We know that the level of out-of-school children in this part of the country is very high and we want to support them.

“It is going to give special focus on girls education, as we all know, girls are the most vulnerable in society, so specific portion will be dedicated to them in the programme.

“We will also work with the government to support its  education system as well as teachers. We will also support the communities and their families in providing a good environment for the children to benefit from the education.”

She, however, commend Governor Aliyu as well as the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Saad Abubakar III  for their numerous support to both European Union and Unicef.

Responding, Governor Aliyu described the efforts of the European Union as not only timely but also very important.

“When we started this journey, one of our nine-point smart agenda was to improve on the education of our wards, when we resume office, what we met on ground was very bad.

“We had started by renovating many school structures and even launch some of them during my 100 days in office.

“You are very much aware that the issue of banditry affecting community across Northwwest has affected our school programmes.

“This is one of the reason which made us-the Northwest governors-to come up with Community Guard Corps aimed at combating insecurity in the region.”

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