A former Executive Chairman/ Chief Executive of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna yesterday pleaded with well-to-do Nigerians to invest in education.

He said an ignorant population is a liability to any nation.

He said Nigerians with means to sponsor the education of their children might endanger their families if the children of their neighbours do not have the same opportunity.

Haruna made the plea at the commissioning of a boulevard in honour of the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage Muh’d in Havilla University, Nde Ikom in Cross River State

He said: “Since an ignorant population is not only a liability to the nation but equally constitute a huge security threat to our existence, let me call on Nigerians with means to individually and in collaboration or partnership to join hands and establish standard educational institutions that can provide quality entrepreneurial and affordable education as a societal social responsibility.

“Remember, if you have means to sponsor education of your children alone, your neighbour’s children without the same opportunity will not allow you and your family to live safely and happily in no distant time.”

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Haruna said more investments were needed in education because most public institutions in Nigeria have become overstretched.

He said the affected institutions have dilapidated and out-dated infrastructure and equipment.

He added: “It is estimated that more than half of the 213 million population of Nigeria are under the age of 20 with a large percentage of out of school children and drop outs.

“According to UNICEF, one in every five of the world’s out of school children is in Nigeria. A lot of those who make it to the end of secondary education find it difficult to gain admission into tertiary institutions due to limited carrying capacity.

“For years, Nigeria’s budgetary allocation to the education sector has consistently been below recommended benchmark for developing nations.

“A recent study for the period of 1960-2023, computed average annual budgetary allocation made to education sector of Nigeria at about 5.94%. This is below UNESCO recommendation of 15%, 20% and 26% at different levels of education. “The annual percentage budgetary allocations to the sector by the Governments of Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco are significantly higher than that of Nigeria.”