THE Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, has called on the Federal Government to make it a criminal act for parents who refuse to let their children go to school.
He described as worrisome and unacceptable, the recent report that over 10 million Nigerian children are out of school.
Okojie, spoke on Tuesday, in Abuja, in his remark as the chairman of the occasion at the second Nigeria Police Force Quiz Competition for Secondary Schools as part of the programmes marking the 2016 Police Week.
NUC boss, while also calling for reintroduction of boarding school system across the country, attributed the decline in reading culture among school children to the current dominant day-school system where students do not have adequate time for studies and team work.
Okojie also called on parents and teachers to take the care of children seriously, saying child-care is a very important aspect of child’s development.
He disclosed that the Federal Government had set aside N1billion self-benefitting fund-in-trust domiciled with UNESCO to revitalise adult and youth literacy in the country.
He said: “We are told that in the South of the Sahara, there are over 150 million children that are out of school. And today 10 million of these out-of-school children are from Nigeria. This is worrisome, especially in a country where primary education is made free.”
Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, also called on parents and teachers to inculcate discipline and obedience in youth in order to encourage them to be hard working as well as build positive value of obedience to law, moral rectitude and patriotic zeal for the country.
She was represented by the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Oludolapo Osinbajo.
Hajia Buhari, further said: “The critical message being passed on this occasion is that it is important to teach the Nigerian children to be aware of the law of the land in order to know which action constitute a crime and to stay away from it.”
She said it was also important for the children to know about the prescribed roles and powers available to the police force to protect the nation and the citizens.
She commended the Nigeria Police for joining hands with parents in the quest to teach and train the children, who are the next generation and future of the country, adding that lessons learnt from such quiz competition could prepare the children to be team player and ability to work with others in achieving common purpose.
While expressing pains over the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls, the wife of the President said: “On a day like this, listening to beautiful voices of the children, I cannot but remember the ones that we have lost and the ones we are still searching for.”
President of Police Wives’ Association and wife of the Inspector-General of Police, Mrs Agharese Arase, in her remark, underscored the importance of mentoring children in a manner that they would be useful to the society, saying POWA on its part had done a lot in the area of human capacity building through its various projects across the nation.
The participating schools in the quiz competition are: Federal Government College, Kwali; Government Secondary School, Tudun Wada; Royal Family Academy, Wuye; Command Secondary School, Suleja, Niger State and Police Secondary School, Ukana.
In the competition, the Police Secondary School, Ukana, emerged the overall winner with 26 aggregate points against its close opponent, Command Secondary School, Suleja, which came second with 24 points. The third position went to the Royal Family Academy, Wuye that scored 22 points.