President of the Rochas Foundation Colleges and former Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has raised the alarm over the increase in out-of-school children.
Okorocha also identified access to quality education as a viable tool to tackle security challenges in the northern parts of the country.
He said he will dedicate his life to fighting illiteracy which has continually fueled insecurity.
The former governor, who is also the Senator representing Imo West, urged well-to-do Nigerians to see how Almajirai can be given formal education, adding that as long as indigent children continue to roam the streets, insecurity will persist.
Okorocha, who spoke while receiving students of Rochas Okorocha Foundation College of Africa (ROFOCA) from South Sudan and Ethiopia in Abuja, said insurgency, banditry among others have linkage with illiteracy.
In his words, “all the well-to-do in the Southern and Northern parts of the country must pick at least one Almajiri and give him or her formal education. Insurgency is happening as a result of feeling of neglect, injustice and anger which is negatively expressed.
“In Nigeria we need to target the Almajiri children and give them quality education. Many of them have lost hope of becoming somebody in life. What will make them go into crime when they have the understanding that they can become a governor in the future? This is where the solution to ending insecurity in the region and by extension the country lies. We must all see them as our responsibilities.
“Do you ever think there would be any conflict between the North and South if this is done? No, It is through education that Nigeria can be united.”
The former governor also charged African leaders to make education accessible to poor children in the continent to give them opportunities like their counterparts in other parts of the world.
He added, “we need to join hands to tackle the issue of out-of-school children, it is another time bomb. At the Rochas Foundation College, we have trained over 30,000 students and among them today are doctors, lawyers and engineers, among others.
“We extended it to other African countries, today we have about 100 students from 22 African nations. So, we can leverage on education to develop the continent. African leaders are doing the much they can, but a lot more need to be done to educate African children.”