According to a report released earlier in the year by the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria has over 10 million out of school children, the highest in the world.
You Will Be Jailed If Your Children Doesn't Go To School - Borno Govt. Dares Parents
Of that sad and potentially dangerous figure, an overwhelming majority of affected children reside in the northeast which has been ravaged by terrorist attacks in the past 7 years.
One of the most affected states, Borno state, has at least 2.6 million male out of school children, a situation understood to have facilitated the opportunity for radicalization by terrorist group, Boko Haram.
On Monday, the Borno state government announced plans to double efforts at addressing the issue by deploying a multi-pronged approach.
The Punch reports that the Borno state attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Alhaji Kaka-Sheri Lawan told newsmen that ignorance would no longer be an excuse for parents to refuse to send their wards to school.
“Any parent either out of ignorance or willingly refuses to send his child to school will be made to face the full wrath of the law,” Lawan said.
The commissioner who noted that the state government was already offering some incentives, lamented that some parents have refused to cooperate with government to reduce the number of out of school children. He added that such parents would now face the risk of prosecution.
He said, “The government has directed the Borno State Basic Education Board to mobilise all children of school age to be enrolled in schools.
“It has also invested heavily in constructing new schools and renovating those vandalised by Boko Haram terrorists in the course of the insurgency, so as to provide conducive atmosphere for learning.”
Lawan said that government had also introduced free school bus services and other incentives to attract children back to schools.
He said, “Government has procured 150 luxury buses to provide free ride to school children in Maiduguri and communities liberated from the terrorists by the military.
“It has also introduced the provision of free meals, school uniform and books in schools as part of the incentives to retain students in schools.
“The governor is also looking at the possibilities of introducing cash incentives to parents to ensure retention of children in school,” he said.