By Ahmed Ubandoma
The Federal Government has announced plans to set up transit schools to cater for the educational needs of the 11,000 school children displaced by banditry and other violent crimes in Niger State.
According to Dr Betta Edu, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, the project would be executed in collaboration with UNICEF and the Niger government.
A statement by her media aide, Mr Rasheed Zubair, said the federal government would secure a safer location low-cost homes for the victims.
It said the minister was speaking when she visited the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.
The statement quoted Edu as saying that her ministry would be working with the state government and UNICEF to provide transit learning centres to ensure that the affected pupils’ studies were not truncated.
Edu described as “unacceptable”, a situation where 11,000 students are out of school owing to the continued closure of over 400 schools in Niger.
While calling for immediate action to tackle banditry in Niger, she regretted that lack of basic education had predisposed people to poverty.
The minister expressed optimism that peace would soon return to communities affected by banditry to enable displaced persons return to their homes.
“Government is considering options of providing a resettlement centre in the interim where IDPs can resettle and vacate the school premises so that our children can return to their classes.
“The current staggering figure of out-of-school children in Nigeria is not good for the country.
”Education is the foundation; if we must fight poverty, we must return our children to school because that is the key and the beginning of ending the circle of poverty.
“As a government, we will do all we can to tackle the problem from the root cause so that they can continue with their education,” she said(NAN)