The Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Niger, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, has said that many out-of-school children from banditry-infested communities in the state have resorted to street begging for survival because their parents were unable to support their education.
He spoke at the opening of a two-day stakeholders’ workshop on the implementation of the “At-Risk Children Programme (ARC-P),” in Niger State.
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Matane said the programme was timely as it would increase equitable access to education for out-of-school children, improve basic literacy and strengthen accountability for results in basic education.
The SSG noted that the state had completed mapping on Almajiri clusters in 20 of the 25 local government areas, calling for full support for seamless implementation of the ARC-P.
Also speaking, the wife of the state governor, Dr Amina Abubakar Bello, said Niger State had the highest number of youths that were into drug abuse in the North Central, attributing the trend to lack of access to quality education and skills that would make them productive in the society.
She stressed the need for proper coordination and effective strategies as well as monitoring to achieve efficiency and proffer effective solutions to challenges facing the vulnerable children in the state.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais, said adequate data on vulnerable children was required to drive the programme, calling on stakeholders to key in to enable the target children to benefit.
She said the state had enough land to engage its teeming unemployed youths and children in various skills that would enable them to live productive lives.