Says it’s criminal for parents to keep children out of school
*Inaugurates NEC 2019 – 2023 circle
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to state governors to enforce compulsory basic education in their various states.
This is even as he has said it was criminal for parents to keep their children out of school especially in the first nine years of basic education.
He made the call while inaugurating the 2019-2023 National Economic Council (NEC) at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, who urged the state governors to ensure the enforcement of compulsory basic education in their various states also told them to pay great attention to security, health, education and agriculture so as to guarantee a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
According to him, “On education, I want to stress in particular the need to take very seriously and enforce very rigorously the statutory provisions on free and compulsory basic education. Section 18(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended places on all of us here an obligation to eradicate illiteracy and provide free and compulsory education.
“Section 2 of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act provides that every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.
“It is indeed a crime for any parent to keep his child out of school for this period. In my view, when a government fails to provide the schools, teachers and teaching materials necessary for basic education, it is actually aiding and abetting that crime.
“This is therefore a call to action. I would like to see every Governor rise from this meeting and rally his local Government Chairmen towards ensuring that our schools offer the right opportunities and provide the needed materials and teachers for basic education, at the minimum. If we are able to do this, the benefits will surely manifest themselves.
“Ensuring proper education during the first nine years of schooling means that our children start off their lives with some discipline and education. They will be safeguarded from roaming the streets, and protected from all the evil influences that assail idle hands and idle minds.
“Whatever they choose to do thereafter, children with basic education will be better prepared to learn and to appreciate their own role in society. This will also go a long way in solving our security and other anti-social problems, which are often the manifestations of early delinquency.
“I therefore think every Governor here should make a firm commitment to be personally involved in ensuring that every child of school age actually goes to school throughout the crucial nine years of basic education.”
He gave the advise while inaugurating the National Economic Council (NEC) session of 2019-2023 and the 95th meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the council chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari’s administration supported states with close to N2 trillion in form of restructuring of loans, refunds on federal roads, refund for Paris Club, which helped encouraged economic activities in the states, payment of salaries, payment of pensions, payment of gratuities and overall investment by infrastructural spendings.
The inauguration was witnessed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno.
Speaking at the event, Osinbajo described the council as an important body for developing, advising and implementing issues relating to the country’s economy.
Inaugurating the NEC, Buhari urged the council to pay special attention to security, education, agriculture and health.
According to him, their success in the four areas would go a long way in enhancing the standard of living of the citizenry.
While reiterating the commitment of his administration to protect the country’s territory, he said everybody must contribute in addressing the security challenges facing the country.
President Buhari said: “While the Federal Government has primary responsibility for security and will not shy away from it, the States also have a critical role to play; in particular Your Excellencies, as State Governors. You can definitely make a difference, not just by assisting the security agencies in your respective States, but also by keenly pursuing policies and programmes that forestall communal, tribal, religious and societal conflicts; policies and programs that promote education, information, dispute resolution, vocational training and youth employment.
“I have no doubt that if these four areas – security, education, health and agriculture – are actively implemented and closely monitored by NEC and the Governors’ Forum, we shall in the near future see a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“Your Excellencies, the Federal Government in the last four years has demonstrated unwavering inclusiveness in dealing with every State, notwithstanding the political leaning of the Governor or the predominant party in power at the State level. I want this to be your model at the State level. No matter which party we belong to, let us shun divisive policies and join hands together for the upliftment of our people.
“Going forward, States must in the next four years find ways to increase internally generated revenues, improve VAT collection and increase agricultural output without disrupting business activities. I also want you to work with the Federal Agencies and the service providers in ensuring that broadband infrastructure is made available all over the country. Information and Communication Technology is the future of work and we must not allow ourselves to be left behind.
Let me restate the high expectations on NEC as a veritable source of articulating policies and programmes that are expected to drive growth and development, secure our environment and take the country to the next level. Your Excellencies, the challenges that confront us in the next few years, especially in the areas of security, human capital development and employment for our youths are monumental and historic. But we are more than equal to the task.”
NEC is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended. By virtue of Section 153 and paragraph 18 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution, NEC has the mandate to advise the President on economic policy of the country and in particular, co-ordination of the economic planning efforts, and programmes of the three- tiers of Government.
The NEC in the last four years held 38 meetings and set up 10 Ad-Hoc Committees to address various issues of national concern. In the course of its deliberations, it came up with a total of 173 resolutions, cutting across eight areas, namely; Agriculture and Solid Minerals; Investments Promotion and Industrialization; Monetary and fiscal stability and Infrastructure.
Others are Health and Education; Revenue Generation; Security and Support for States.
Buhari said the resolutions were designed to energize the various sectors of the Nigerian economy to which the eight areas relate. “Initiatives brought about by the NEC resolutions are either implemented already or at different stages of implementation across the country. Together, they have proved to be of utmost importance in dictating the pace of national development,” he said.