The recent statistics by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that Nigeria has the second largest number of child brides in the world, with 23 million girls and women married out prematurely, has been linked by experts to the high percentage of out-of-school kids nationwide.
With the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu’s estimation of 16 million children said to be out-of-school, experts have warned that the crisis, if not urgently addressed, would pose a greater socio-security challenge to the nation and might worsen the prevailing insecurity in the land.
The UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field Office Chief, Bhanu Pathak, at a youth talk organised over the weekend in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the city stated: “Too many Nigerian children and young people are being left behind, especially when it comes to education.
“Nigeria also has the second largest number of child brides in the world with 23 million girls and women married as children, and as such, ending their education.”
Reiterating the resolve of the global agency to foster a stronger partnership with the Federal Government for the realisation of children’s rights, he noted: “Nigeria has the world’s highest number of out-of-school children, as more than 10.5 million Nigerian children are not in school.”
In his remarks, the president of Youth Advocates For Education, Sagir Musa, said the challenges of young people include high rate of unemployment, lack of basic life skills, drug abuse, political thuggery and illiteracy.
Entitled “The Nigeria We Want: Voices from Bauchi”, the programme was sponsored by United Kingdom Department for International Development and drew participants from the six states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Plateau and Taraba.