By Myke Agunwa
National Unity and Peace Corps in partnership with Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) on Tuesday flagged off series of activities that will ensure that the number of out-of-school children in the country is reduced to the barest minimum.
Flagging off the pilot programme with the Federal Capital Territory Administration Universal Basic Education Board (FCTA UBEB) in Abuja The Commandant General, NUPEC, Dr. Chinedu S. Nneji stressed that the challenge to eliminate children of school age from the street in the country is a herculean task taking cognisance of the level of poverty in the country.
He assured UBEB that his officers will carry out the project with all sense of responsibility and in line with the rules of engagement. He said that NUPEC has the manpower and competence for tasks and appealed that UBEB should create an enabling environment to make sure that at the end of the day, no child of school age is seen on the street hawking or engaging in any activity during school hours.
He said, “The importance of education in our contemporary World today cannot be over emphasized. All the good things we make use of to survive on a daily basis in this World, be it telecommunication, transportation, education healthcare electronics etc are all products of education. An educated mind is a liberated mind. Thus, every Government should take the education of her citizens as a major priority due to its obvious positive multiplier effects. In a nutshell, this program will ensure that all pupils of school age are not found hawking or loitering in town during school hours.
“Therefore this day marks the beginning of this exercise in the entire 36 States of the Federation and of course and Federal Capital Territory. We therefore call on all parents and guardians to ensure that their children and wards are educated. The implication of educating our children today is that it will drastically reduce youth restiveness to its barest minimum in future”.
The NUPEC Boss reminded his guests that his organization is undertaking the assignment pro bono and solicited for assistance from donor agencies, international organizations and the civil society so that the programme will be sustainable.
“Let me at this juncture emphasize on the fact that we are doing this job free of charge! Our officers and men are making serious sacrifices by spending their meager resources in carrying out this assignment. | therefore plead with the Federal Capital Territory Administration, other agencies of Government and the international Development Partners (IDPs)such as UNICEF, UNESCO etc to come to our assistance in the execution of this important program because there is an extent to volunteerism.
“It is important for me to mention here that we will also need Covid-19 materials to make sure that the protocol is observed in the schools too” Nneji said.
The Commandant General called on all the Six Area Council Chairmen in the FCT to assist the officers and men in any area possible as they will be in the various Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in each of the Area Councils.
Also in his address, The Chairman of FCT UBEB, Anya U.Okoro who was represented by Mallam Isa Maifada said that the issue of out-of-school children in the country has been a recurring decimal.
“One easily sees children hawking sachet water, groundnut, oranges and different types of fruits during school hours. These children’s rights to education are being denied them by this act with the obvious implication that their features are being jeopardized.
“We want to ensure that in a short time from now, we will no longer see children hawking something on the streets of Abuja during school hours and by doing we will have an all literate society”
Also present at the occasion were representatives from the six Area Councils in the FCT, Royal Fathers and officers of NUPEC that entertained guests with their para-military parade and drama.