Wives of the 19 northern states governors yesterday said bandits must be defeated for children to feel safe going to school.
According to the women, the closure of schools is a short term plan but the security agencies must do all they can to defeat the bandits for all children to return to schools.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the chairperson of the Northern Governors’ Wives Forum, Arch. Hadiza el-Rufai, said they were determined to collaborate with the federal government to combat gender based violence and drug abuse.
Mrs el-Rufai who rolled out the activities of the forum in 2021 and 2022, said banditry was one of the issues security agencies must tackle to enable them achieve their objectives.
“We are concerned about kidnapping of school children. The short term plan is about closing down the schools as Kaduna and Zamfara states are doing.
“You don’t put the children in danger by taking them to school. The bandits must be defeated at all costs,” she said.
The special assistant to the president on social investment under the office of the vice president, Hajiya Mariam Uwais who briefed the governor’s wives on what the federal government is doing on empowerment of women, young girls and school children, said they would get the data of out of school children and address their health concerns.
“The states have the constitutional mandate to bring the children to share a framework for digital skills, agriculture and other empowerment programmes.
“We are collaborating with the governor’s wives and other stakeholders to select 50 young educated but not employ youths in every local government empower them to mentor the young children and guide those that are out of school to return to the school and remain in schools.
“50 will be selected in every local government. They will be paid N30,000 which is the minimum wage. This will create capacity and create jobs for them,” Mariam said.
The vice chairperson of the Northern Governors Wives Forum who is also the first lady of Kwara State, Ambassador Olufolake Abdulrazak, said they would ensure the sustainability of the programme even beyond 2023.