Paul Orude, Bauchi
Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State has responded to recent reports that the state has the highest number of out-of-school children in the country.
Governor Abubakar made his view known when he received a group of 18 Afro-Americans who paid a courtesy on him at Government House, Bauchi, on Monday.
In the words of the governor, “The recent World Bank report says Bauchi State tops the list of out-of-school children in the country but I challenge those figures.
“What the World Bank didn’t consider is that Bauchi State has accommodated higher internally displaced persons than any state of the federation, and the data the Bank relies on to pass this verdict was generated long time ago.”
Speaking earlier, on Sunday, at a dinner he organised for his visitors at Yankari Games Reserves, Governor Abubakar stated: “Bauchi’s population has increased with about a million people from close to 6.8 million in 2015, the population of Bauchi is estimated to be close to 7.3 million.
“While the Bauchi State government recognises the need to improve access to vital resources such as education, healthcare and employment opportunities, facilities are overstretched as a result of the growth in population within the few years.”
The Daily Sun reports that a recent survey jointly carried out by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Federal Government, said the number of children who are outside the school system, rose from 10.5 million a few years ago to 13.2 million, with Bauchi State having the highest number of out-of-school children at 1.1 million.
Governor Abubakar explained that his administration was making efforts to improve education with more interventions in the sector.
He said the state needs much intervention and partnerships to improve education, boost the health sector and reduce high rates of maternal and infant mortality, boost agriculture and develop tourism potentials of the state.
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He, therefore, appealed to Nigerians in the Diaspora, donor agencies and development partners to contribute to the development of a post-insurgency Northeast Nigeria.
In a statement issued by his Press Secretary, Abubakar Al-Sadique, Governor Abubakar was quoted as saying, “We, therefore, welcome any form of assistance from you, Nigerians in the Diaspora, donor organisations and development partners, especially now that the country is coming out of recession.”
The governor assured of the state government’s readiness to do business with anybody wishing to invest in the state, saying enabling laws to ease doing business have been passed and assented to by the state legislature and executive arms of respectively.
Speaking earlier during the courtesy call, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, explained that the group of Afro-Americans was in Nigeria to re-engage the country because of the group’s belief that only Africans could develop the continent.
Dabiri-Erewa stated that it was a great experience for the Afro Americans to put their feet on their ancestral land, saying they made a stopover at Badagry to “have a glimpse of the channel through which African slaves were taken to the United States of America.”
The group of 18 Afro-Americans, which was led by Mr. David Anderson, had passed a night at the famous Yankari Games Reserve.