Vanguard (Lagos)

14 June 2012

Nigeria: Education - South East Govs Storm Abuja, Say FG Neglect Zone

Abuja — GOVERNORS from the South East zone yesterday stormed the Ministry of Education to complain over lack of access to education by people of the region even as the Federal Government promised to launch a campaign on access to education in Enugu next week.

Led by Peter Obi of Anambra State and accompanied by Sullivan Chime of Enugu, Martins Elechi of Ebonyi, the governors said they had come to discuss on how best the people of the zone could have unhindered access to education.

Peter Obi who spoke on behalf of others, said the South East governors had deliberation with the Federal Government, explaining that their presence at the Ministry of Education was a proof to the seriousness the zone attached to education.

He said, "we had a fruitful deliberation. For us as a zone, our coming to see the Minister of Education, Prof Ruqquayat Rufa'I goes to show the seriousness with which we attach to education.

"We the governors of the South East zone have decided to take education very seriously and we felt we need to discuss some aspects of what we intend to do with the minister as well as what the Federal Government is trying to do in education. We are committed to education."

While responding to the governors, education minister said the ministry had agreed on a date to launch a campaign of access to education in that zone.

She stated, "We agreed that we are going to have a major campaign on access to education in the South East zone particular in Enugu on the 19th of this month. Then we will identify areas of interest to the South East zone after which we will take care of South South and South West zones. It is a rare opportunity to have governors of a particular zone to organise to visit us. It is the first time to have more than one governor visit us since l became Minister of education"

"We feel highly delighted to receive the South East Governors in our midst. And we are happier that we discussed issues on education. You will recall that since our campaign on access to education in Adamawa in 2010, we have been working towards improving access to education particularly at the basic education level centred around the almajiri at that time and girl child education, we concentrated on almajiri because of the large number of almajiris that were roaming the streets particularly in the Northern part of the country.

"That is not to say we are unaware that we do have situation where either the students are not interested in schooling for one reason or the other or they are more interested in trade and in some cases, we had the issue of school drop-outs at a particular level"

"A few months ago, we had discussions after our launching in Sokoto in terms of having Mr President to launch and handover the almajiri model school to Sokoto state government after which we had a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan whose concern was how to ensure that we extend and take care of all other part of the country in terms of ensuring intervention for out of school children"

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