Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday said he was pained by the high number of out-of-school children in the country.
The former President said this as the Federal Government disclosed that it would start an open schooling progamme in July as part of efforts to solve the problem of the out-of-school children.
Obasanjo, during a meeting with the national leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said the youth within the age bracket of 30 constituted over 60 per cent of Nigerian population, adding that they should be regarded as leaders of today and not tomorrow.
The former President said, “When I see what youths in other countries are doing and I see the people who are in charge, most of them are young, but Nigerians, especially the youth, are not better endowed.
“Whatever I have done, I did it because I am educated and for the love I have for Nigeria. If I didn’t have education, I would not have been able to do what I have done and today, it pains me that more than 13 million of Nigerian children who should be in school are out of school.”
Recall that the Federal Ministry of Education had on April 12, 2019, said it conducted a national personnel audit of both public and private schools in the country and discovered that there were 10,193,918 out-of-school children nationwide.
The former Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had noted that the audit was part of the 2018/2019 annual school census, which was carried out by the Universal Basic Education Commission, the National Population Commission, the National Bureau of Statistics and other stakeholders.
The minister said the census showed that the most endemic states affected by the out-of-school children syndrome were; Kano, Akwa Ibom, Katsina, Kaduna, Taraba, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara, Oyo, Benue, Jigawa and Ebonyi states.