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'Bandits must be defeated', Northern Governors Wives advocate for safe schools

The forum urged the government to deal with the bandits, because the country could not continue this way.

Northern Governors Wives Forum. (TheNigerian Voice)

Northern Governors’ Wives Forum (NGWF), said on Saturday that it was good for schools in insecurity-prone areas to be closed, to protect children .

Chairperson of the forum, Hajiya Hadiza El-Rufai and Kaduna state First Lady, while interacting with newsmen in Abuja, said that the kidnapping of children from their schools was a source of concern to all, especially in a country with many out-of-school children.

”Closure of schools should be a short term measure, like what the state governments are already doing in Kaduna state and recently in Zamfara.

“They closed all the schools as a short term solution, it cannot be sustained that way because we must get our children to school, but, as it is now, it is important to keep our children safe.

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“This is because it doesn’t make sense to say that because you want your children educated you put them at risk .

“Meanwhile, I believe that the government is doing all it can to see that these bandits are defeated once and for all,” she said.

El-Rufai, however, said that the long term strategy was to defeat the bandits, so that our children could go to school without feeling any danger by dealing with the bandits, because the country could not continue this way.

She expressed the belief that the president and all the people that are supposed to do the right thing were working to end banditry, as seen in the past weeks when bandits were bombarded .

El-Rufai added that the forum had decided to tackle two issues – gender-based violence and drug abuse — confronting the society, urging the media for support to tackle the twin issues, while amplifying the voices on the forum.

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The vice Chairperson NGWF, Olufolake Abdulrazaq and Kwara’s first lady, said that the forum was also executing some projects to ameliorate the plight of children in the states.

Abdulrazaq said that although children may not be able to go to school in some parts of the country, there were still things to engage them in.

“Although children learn on radio, online and other platforms while at home, we have discovered that grassroots sports is also keeping children engaged and off the streets,” she said.

She called on all stakeholders, especially men, to continue to help in championing an end to sexual and gender based violence, adding that the forum would continue to honour men who supported gender equality .

The Kwara first lady said that part of the aim of the interactive session with newsmen was for them to have a buy-in into the activities of the forum in the area of advocacy carried out around children and youths.

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This, she said, was so that people could be well informed about the forum’s activities, especially related to gender based violence, so that they could know what to do and where to go, when they were faced with the challenge.

Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, said that it was important for the Federal Government to work with the NGWF to address the plight of children, noting that the government was presently running a project aimed at addressing the issues of at-risk children and youths.

Uwais explained that the project aimed at getting the states to lead, to ensure that children and youths at risk got into safe spaces.

“We are collaborating with the governor’s wives and other stakeholders to select 50 young educated, but unemployed youths in every local government. They will be paid N30,000, which is the minimum wage, to build their capacity and create jobs for them.

” We will empower them to mentor and monitor the young children and guide those that are out of school to return to school and remain in school”, Uwais said.

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