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States, not FG should be blamed for nation’s education woes, says Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (middle) and participants at the National Dialogue Forum on Girls in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA


• Urges states to domesticate VAPP, CRA

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said most of the problems associated with Nigeria’s education sector are responsibilities of state governments, stressing that the Federal Government’s job is to provide support.

The Vice President spoke, yesterday, in Abuja when he declared open a two-day forum themed: ‘National Dialogue on Girls: Towards a Girl-Friendly Nigeria’.

The event was jointly organised by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), Women Arise for Change Initiative and the Africa-Wide Movement for Children (AMC).

Osinbajo, who identified social and cultural prejudices as some of the critical problems militating against the girl child in Nigeria, said despite efforts by the Federal Government to curtail the menace, states and local governments also have a role to play.

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He said: “We run a federal system. And questions of education and medical care are essentially state matters. Primary education is state and local government matter. The Federal Government has only about 100 schools of the hundred of thousands of schools.

“Sometimes, when we talk about out-of-school children and problems associated with education, we tend to focus on the Federal Government, whereas the Federal Government does not run primary school. That is not the business of the Federal Government. It is the business of state and local governments.”

Osinbajo said comparing Nigeria to other countries might be missing the point, since the Federal Government cannot force other tiers of government to implement policies and laws without the concurrence of states and local governments.

“This has to be made clear. Even when comparisons are drawn between Nigeria and other countries, the tendency is to assume the Federal Government can legislate that states should do a particular thing but that is not possible. Our country is a federal system. States have governors and budgets and their budgets should reflect the true realities of their concerns,” he said.

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Osinbajo admonished victims of child abuse not to view it as the end of life, noting that examples abound of many who have shrugged off the trauma and gone ahead to make success of their lives.

The Vice President urged states that are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act (CRA) and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act to do so.

Earlier, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, described the dialogue as a clarion call on government and well-meaning individuals to support the girl child.

She said despite the milestones already reached, the girl child still faces a lot of challenges such as early marriage, rape and other forms of child abuse.

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