Babagana Zulum, the Governor of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria, has granted N97 million as cumulative payment of scholarship for 959 out-of-school children to be re-enrolled into Federal Government Colleges (FGC) in the state.
On Wednesday, an official statement said Zulum facilitated the admission of the children who were forced out of school by displacement from the decade-old Boko Haram insurgency in the state.
Borno, the insurgency’s epicentre, is one of the least educated states in Nigeria, with most of its young population not attending schools.
According to security experts, the children are ready recruits for the terror groups that use them as suicide bombers and, in most cases, as fighters.
More than 13 million children in Nigeria are out of school. Most of them from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, where Boko Haram has been waging a campaign against western education since 2009, UNICEF said in a 2018 report, the most recent survey.
Boko Haram attacks have destroyed more than 5000 classrooms and school buildings, creating a climate of fear that going to school seems risky and teaching is a dangerous vocation.
Two years ago, Zulum, a professor of irrigation engineering, had, during his campaign, promised to rejig the education sector with scholarship and other incentives in the states as part of ways to provide lasting solutions to the Boko-haram campaign against western education.
Last month, the governor enrolled about 1,163 children of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in war-ravaged Damask town in school.
This time, Zulum approved 60 million for sponsorship of the 774 girls going to Federal Government Girls College Monguno and over N37 million for the 185 boys at Federal Government College, Maiduguri, to pay for tuition, uniforms and shoes, and procurement of mattresses and other essential needs.
The statement on Wednesday said the boys were drawn from 16 local government areas with the “most backward number of school enrollments.”
“Abadam was given the highest number of 17 slots, followed by Guzamala, which got 15 slots, Marte 13, Maga13, Mobbar 12, Kala-Balge 11, Konduga 10, Ngala 10, Magumeri 10, Bama 10, Gubio 10, Dikwa 10, Kaga 10, Kukawa 10, Nganzai 10 and Monguno-9 slots,” the statement read in parts.
Maina Yaumi, the Executive Secretary of the newly established Borno State Education Trust Fund, on Wednesday enrolled the boys into Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1 at FGC Maiduguri for the commencement of studies, the statement said.
“The school, through its Vice Principal, Academics, AbdulAzeez Kado, announced that a special committee was going to be formed to be organising extra lessons, especially in English Language and Mathematics as well as special orientation for the 185 boys to enable them to fully acclimatise to the new environment.”
“Kado promised that the management of FGC, Maiduguri, would work hard to make the new students among the best of its students in years to come.”
“The Education Trust Fund is currently working on a similar usher-in of the 774 girls admitted into FGGC, Monguno, as soon as some ongoing procedures are completed.”
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