By Uchenna Eletuo
The Catholic Women Organisation (CWO) Nigeria on Saturday decried the rising number of out-of-school children owing to banditry and kidnapping in the country.
The religious organisation, an umbrella body for Catholic women in Nigeria, said that in recent times children abduction for ransom had endangered the education of school children and had compelled schools to be shut-down for months.
The National President of CWO, Dame Mary Ashibi-Gonsum, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the subsisting menace would breed illiterate future generations.
Ashibi-Gonsum said that the menace could make pupils lack the requisite to manage themselves, and much less, the nation.
The national president who expressed disappointment at the poor performance of students in competitive and external examinations such as JAMB and SSCE among others, said efforts should be made to stop disruption of the school calendar and to ensure that children stayed enrolled in school to learn.
She attributed the woeful performance of students in examination to insecurity and urged the federal government to explore other approaches to ensuring security other than military operations.
She said that the Federal Government has been trying in checking banditry and kidnapping, that more effort was needed to secure schools especially those outside the cities, as many were prone to attacks.
The women leader, who expressed dismay on the inability of some state governments to secure schools in their domains.
“In places like Kaduna, Bauchi, Maiduguri, and other parts of northern Nigeria, schools have remained closed-down for months running into years, with children out of school.
“This is a terrible social trend that can pit children against elements of development and create life of uncertainty in future.
“As a government we should not look for solution in one direction; we should explore socio-economic mobilisation that will make people have a sense of belonging and be able to protect schools in their areas by giving valuable information to operatives on any potential crisis before it breaks out,’’ she said.
She called on parents to instill discipline and good morals in their children and ensure that they were wary of the kind of company their teenage children kept so that they would grow up to be responsible people. (NAN)