President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Tuesday, affirmed that the out-of-school children are big challenges facing Nigeria as a nation.
Lawan also said the consequences were not only social but security problems to the country.
The lawmaker stated this in his remarks on a motion titled “The Need to Integrate Almajiri Education into Modern System of Education in Nigeria’, sponsored by Senator Adamu Aliero representing Kebbi Central Senatorial District.
“We all know that the out-of-school-children are at the moment a big problem to us as a country.
“They constitute not only social problems but also security problems to some extent.
“Therefore, it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure that they are enrolled in primary and secondary schools,” the Senate President said.
In his lead debate, Aliero said over the years, the Federal Government of Nigeria had made efforts to reduce the menace of street begging by introducing the Universal Primary Education (UPE) Scheme in 1976, and re-introduced the Universal Basic Education (UBE) in September, 1999.
He also affirmed that the Almajiri happened to be one of the persons covered by the UBE Act 2004, for the purpose of provision of basic education.
“We have more than 14 million out-of-school children, most of them being Almajiri roaming the streets of our major cities in Nigeria begging for alms and food.”
In retrospect, the lawmaker said the past administration of former President GoodLuck Jonathan embarked on a laudable project by building Almajiri integrated model schools in which these children were enrolled and given Islamic and western education.
But he lamented,
“some of the structures are either laying fallow or put into uses other than what they were originally intended for and some of the facilities in the Almajiri Model Schools are already decaying as they have never been put to use.”