Kano — Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has explained why out-of-school children are more in the state.
Ganduje disclosed that 95 per cent of Almajiris in Kano are children who migrated from Chad, Niger Republic and Northern part of Cameroon to seek Quranic education.
He agreed with the recent figures by the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which put the statistics of the entire number at 13.5million.
According to UNICEF, Demographic Health Survey proved that 65 per cent of the total number of these children resides in the northern part of the country, with Kano being home to about 3million of the vulnerable children.
Ganduje spoke at the weekend in Government House, at a reception for Kano-born publisher of online media outfit African Newspage, Adam Aliqali.
The publisher was honoured for winning the 2018 West Africa Media Awards prize for Sustainable Development Goals' reporting recently in Accra, Ghana.
Aliqali's winning piece was "Out-of-School Children; Nigeria's ticking time-bomb."
Ganduje said the influx of migrants to the state is not unconnected to the status of the place as a cosmopolitan state, and commercial nerve centre of Northern Nigeria.
He stressed: "Yes, it is a fact that Kano has the highest population in Nigeria. It is the commercial nerve centre of Northern Nigeria and other neighboring countries like Chad, Cameroun, Niger. We equally have the highest number of public primary schools in Nigeria."
"With the influx of children from other Northern states and neighboring countries, I will not be surprised, if Kano has the highest number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
The governor explained that government had repatriated some of the children to their home states, but regretted that thousands of the children always found their ways back few months later.
While stressed that government is constrained with paucity of funds to integrate the children into conventional primary schools, he said there were plans to open modern Quranic schools, with integration of conventional learning system.
He further disclosed that the issue would be discussed at the Northern Governor's Forum, so that laws could be made to restrict migration of Almajiri children across the region.
Aliqali expressed worries that out-of-school children in Nigeria, especially Kano, may degenerate to multiple dangers in future, if government fails to address the challenge.
The online publisher also urged government to check infrastructural decay in the public education.