* as Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto states target 500,000 additional enrolment
The minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says it is worrisome that Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world.
He said the federal government is at the forefront of enhancing massive school enrolment, attendance and completions through various child development policies including the school feeding programme.
The minister who was represented by an Assistant Director at the ministry, Mrs Uche Chuta, stated this on Monday at the opening of a media training on Cash Transfer Programme (CTP) organised by UNICEF in Kebbi state.
He said with the highest number of out-of-school children, girl-child education has become a major issue of concern in most developing countries.
While noting that there are lots of barrier to girl-child education, he said the issues are not also limited to poverty, early marriage and teenage pregnancy, which are mostly pronounced.
He however commended UNICEF for its intervention in child development in Nigeria through innovative strategies like the Cash Transfer Programme.
Also speaking, Kebbi State CTP project coordinator, Isah Usman, said the programme which is meant to expand access to education is targeting about 500,000 out-of-school children in three states of Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto.
He said considering that Kebbi and Zamfara are regarded as educationally-disadvantaged in spite of having free education and Universal Basic Education in the states, he said they have high records of out-of-school girls.
While noting that the high number of out-of-school children is largely due to poverty, he said to change the ugly situation, the state government will have to consolidate on the gains of UNICEF from previous programme.
He also noted that the Cash Transfer Programme is the biggest programme on education that is coming to Kebbi state.