Daily Trust (Abuja)

18 February 2013

Nigeria: Why South-South Has Almajiri Schools - Minister

Contracts were awarded to build Almajiri schools in the South South to provide access to basic education for children engaged in begging in the region, Minister of state for education Barrister Nyesom Wike has said.

Wike who was in Rivers state, Port Harcourt to inspect federal government projects sponsored by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) said even though the numbers of Almajiris in the South-South could not be compared to those in the Northern part of the country, federal government wanted to tackle the problem nationally.

Projects inspected by the Minister included the Almajiri school in Ikwerre local government, school library projects in Federal Government College Abuloma and Federal Government College Port Harcourt and construction of Junior Girls School Obio Okpor and Community Secondary School Rumuepirikom Obio Okpor.

At the Almajiri school, the Minister frowned at the slow pace of the project which he said was awarded when he resumed office two years ago.

The Designing and Planning Consultant Architect Fidelis Michael explained that the project commenced only last September because the contractor had problems securing the land.

At the sites of the remaining projects, the contractors promised that by March they would be ready for handover to federal government.

Wike said, " I am quite impressed with the quality of work I have seen today. We have hope that the contractors would finish on time."

He said government's focus on building libraries in unity colleges was to revive reading culture and ensure that students find conducive places to conduct research.

The Minister said federal government has been intervening in the education sector with libraries in two federal government colleges, approval and foundation laying for new faculties in the University of Port Harcourt and a polytechnic was given N500m special intervention.

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