By Suzan Edeh
Bauchi — A non-governmental organisation known as the Nigerian Northern Education Initiative, NEI, has said that about 65.5 per cent of girls lack access to basic education in the North East zone of the country. NEI is funded by the United State Agency for International Development, USAID.
This was made known during the public presentation of gender assessment findings on basic education and living conditions of orphans and vulnerable children by the Bauchi State Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Development in collaboration with NEI in Bauchi, yesterday.
An expert, Hajiya Bintu Abba Ibrahim who spoke during the ceremony said that 49 per cent of boys attend primary school while 37 per cent of girls attend school in the North East region.
According to her, Nigeria has 17.5 million Orphans and Vulnerable Children, OVC; who lack access to education.
“The need for the education of the girl child, especially in the North-East region where literacy level is very low cannot be overemphasised. From baseline assessment studies, gender enrolment in non-project local governments is 68.87 per cent while in project local governments, the percentage is 65.65 per cent just as Islamiya schools had more female than male enrolment. ”
She attributed religion and gender sentiments as factors militating against girl child education and called on stakeholders to support education of the less privileged children, especially girls, in their communities.
Also, the Bauchi State Head of Service, Mr. Abdon Gin said that education was not only fundamental to human existence, but ranked next to air and water in terms of need and demand.
In his remarks, the Emir of Dass, Usman Othman, called for the education of the girl-child, so as to represent a balance in gender equality in sensitive professions like medicine. He also condemned street hawking by under-aged girls.