The education of the hundreds of thousands of school-age children kept out-of-school by Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East over the last ten years is the first major priority of the North East Development Commission (NEDC).
The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Commission, Maj. Gen. Paul Tarfa, gave this hint in Maiduguri, on Saturday, when he led the Board on tour of the Commission’s administrative headquarters, some IDP camps and Borno State government’s mega schools.
“Finding schools for this massive population of out-of-school children, and also finding jobs for them after school constitute our major priority now,” he told newsmen during the facility tour.
“We will certainly try to find solutions to occupy these children and in the long run find stability and development in the North-East.”
The Managing Director of the Commission, Mohammed Goni Alkali, while looking at the situation of the IDPs in broad perspective said, “we will now go back, settle down and develop short, middle and long term solutions for them.”
Accompanying the NEDC board on the tour, the Borno State governor-elect, Professor Babagana Zulum, said he would cooperate with the Commission to identify gaps in the resuscitation and development of a post-insurgency Borno state, as well as work with the Commission for a common purpose when he takes over the mantle of leadership of the state.
“Take a much more holistic approach to the problems created by the insurgency, and adopt short, mid and long term plans to solve them,” Governor Kashim Shettima advised the Commission when the board paid him a courtesy call later.
“There a lot of expectations on you from the governments and people of the North-East,” he told to the Commission, saying, “Pay undivided attention to education, job creation and the healthcare delivery system; these are most important.”
There are 53,411 registered children orphaned by Boko Haram in Borno state alone, apart from the unregistered thousands, as well as the hundreds of thousands displaced along with their parents by the persisting insurgency, and crammed in IDP camps and host communities who were consequently kept out-of-school.
In Maiduguri’s Teachers Village IDPs camp alone, over 10,000 of such children have accumulated over the last four months from Northern Borno communities, our reporter learnt.