Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has thrown his weight behind more enrollment of Nigerian children in schools, saying that the girl-child education should be encouraged.
The Acting President made the remarks while he was hosting 20-year-old global education campaigner and UN Messenger of Peace, Malala Yousafzai on Monday, July 17, 2017, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria has some 10.5 million children out of school, with 60 percent of them being girls.
Malala had charged the Nigerian government to “declare a state of emergency for education because the education of the Nigerian girls and boys is really important.”
According to a press statement signed by Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, the Acting President observed that there is a connection between terrorism, poverty and ignorance.
To combat it at the roots, he said, “We have to change the mindset and delegitimise the false ideas and notions of hatred and violence.
“Getting people to enroll in school is the easier part of the problem. The bigger one is to ensure that we don’t promote the mindset that girls are in anyway inferior and all that.”
The Acting President also said, “There is no question that we need to develop counter-narratives. We are faced with emotive narratives and its now about getting people to understand through counter-narratives that there is a different way to get things done.”
He also praised Malala’s advocacy for the education and the well-being of children around the world, saying, “With respect to violent extremism I am pleased you are taking it on. It is a very complex problem of those of us who have to deal with it on a daily basis.
“Your ability to articulate issues and the courage to face down hatred and terrorism is widely acknowledged.
“Your story is an inspiration for not only young women around the world but for us all.”
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu; Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, and the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed, were present at the meeting.
The Acting President also met with a delegation of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as well as a delegation of the World Leadership Alliance, also known as, Club de Madrid on Monday.
The Club de Madrid delegation, which included two former African Presidents: Festus Mogae of Botswana and Cassa Muttem of Mauritus, presented him a report of a workshop it had conducted in Nigeria earlier this year on the issue of alternative narratives to counter violent extremism.
Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama attended the meeting.
The ICAO delegation that met the Acting President was led by Dr. O.B Aliu, whom the Aviation Minister of State Hadi Sirika described at the meeting as “the first black man to lead the ICAO.”
The delegation’s meeting followed its appearance at a conference on Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAV) in Abuja.
While speaking at the meeting, Osinbajo said the Federal Government is making effort to bring down the cost of aviation services in the country as he noted that the industry is going to play a significant role in the economic development of the country.
According to the press release, the Acting President said, “We believe that aviation cost will go down and that more people will participate, more people will use the services of the airlines and people will use the airports as well.”
Osinbajo also commended the organisation’s excellent work, and expressed his delight at Nigeria’s hosting of the International World Aviation Forum coming up in Abuja later this year.