The Life Builders Initiative (LBI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has raised alarm over the 13 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, saying it is a time bomb that could consume the country in the next few years.
The founder of the NGO, Dr Sanwo David, who raised the concern while addressing the press ahead of its stakeholders forum on education next week, warned that “if we don’t get these children back to school, in the next few years, we would have built an army that’s worse than Boko Haram and bandits.”
He said his NGO, which had been working on getting out-of-school children back to school in the past six years, had impacted the lives of over 1500 children.
Dr. David argued that poverty was the main reason the kids were out of school, stressing that over 92 million Nigerians were living below the poverty line.
“If they (Out-of-school children) don’t go to school in the next five years, they would have produced another 150 million out-of-school children,” he warned.
While acknowledging that the government had done well to make basic education free and compulsory, he said other things like feeding, uniform, books amongst others needed for schooling were not provided, hence the reluctance of parents to release their kids for school.
The LBI founder said the NGO was staging the stakeholders forum to discuss the best way to tackle the challenge of out-of-school children in Nigeria while also launching its model that could be used by interested Nigerians to drive the initiative.
“We have invited people with the same mindset. Our contribution to national security is to put the children back to school and we will be converging on Radio house on 14 and 15 of this month to find solutions to this problem,” he stressed.
Dr. David said if well-to-do Nigerians could donate N1000 each per month, so many out-of-school children would be reached and a major national disaster would have been averted.
He said LBI, currently running two schools in Abuja, was planning to scale the project to the Northeast and Northwest States as well as Nasarawa state in the North Central with the target of reaching 2000 children in every two years.
LBI programme coordinator, Ifeoluwa David, said the inclusion of vocational training to the school system was responsible for the success achieved so far.