From Okwe Obi, Abuja 

Niger State Coordinator of At Risk Children Programme ARC-P, Fodio Abubakar Yusuf has re-emphasized the commitment of the federal government in addressing challenges of at risk children in Nigeria.

Yusuf stated this yesterday while responding to questions from newsmen on the sidelines of a one-day social dialogue for local government facilitators and other stakeholders of the programme in Minna.

He explained that the programme would cut across the local government areas of the state with each local government having 50 facilitators.

He said: “Every local government will have 50 facilitators. This 50 facilitators are not just anybody. They must be responsible persons both male and female such that they wil be assigned to mentor another 50 children from 0 to 24 years, because if they are not responsible, we cannot afford to give them children to mentor.”

Consultant of ARC-P project in Niger and Nasarawa States Murktar Suleiman, also, explained that the presidency had become concerned over the increasing number of out of school children in the country, especially in the North hence it’s decision to undertake the project.

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“We cannot deny that one of the biggest issues we have, especially in the northern part of t country is the high rate of at-risk children, both in the almajiri sector and also other forms of socio-economic factors that actually leads them to being that way.

“So the government is coming in so we can actually handle the issue of out-of-school children, and also see how we can make sure that more and more of the population of the north is not as at-risk as much as it is.

He said: “According to UNICEF, there are about almost 15 million children that are out of school currently, and this needs to change, and the presidency is begining to see that, and that’s what we are actually working towards.”

In Nasarawa State, the ARC-P consultant, Muhammad Abubakar Danjuma, stated that the dialogue was aimed at discussing issues bordering on at-risk children and the almajiri system of education.

“This is a formidable essence in the sense that we are trying to see what are those enabling structures we can strengthen in Nasarawa state, what are the roles of stakeholders and how can we join hands together in ensuring that these kids that are at risk are being taken care of, either by the parents or their teachers and other people in the society.”

Also, the At-Risk Children Project state lead in Nasarawa State, Mohammed Tanko, maintained that the programme is aimed at profering solutions to the issues affecting almajiris and other at-risk children.