THE number of out of school children in Nigeria is a source of worry for the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who said that efforts would be made by the Senate to address the challenge in the legislative agenda.
In his address Tuesday, at the plenary, Lawan, putting the population of children currently out of school at 10 million, said, “this is a challenge for us in the next four years.”
Lawan also identified growing inequality, security challenge, consolidating on the oil sector reforms started by the last assembly, assisting the Executive on the war against corruption as issues that would form the legislative agenda for the 9th Senate.
He stated: “If there is one issue that is dear to me and which we must all take very seriously, it is that more than 10 million of our children are out of school.
“As a former lecturer, a former chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Education, I subscribe to the view that all children, no matter where they live or what their circumstances, have the right to quality education.
“ Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, over 10 million of the country’s children aged 5 – 14 years are out of school.
“I am well aware that the problems of our country are quite enormous but they are not insurmountable.
“If we all work together as members of the same government, we will achieve our goals to better the lot of the Nigerian people.’’
Fashioning a Legislative Agenda
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report indicated that the Senate constituted a 13-member ad-hoc committee to fashion out a legislative agenda for the Senate.
Adamu Alero (Kebbi Central) chairs the committee, which has two weeks to produce a legislative agenda. Some members of the committee are Chimaroke Nnamani, Ibrahim Baru, Abdulfatai Buhari, Aisha Dahiru, Uche Ekwunife, Ifeanyi Uba, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, Istifanus Gyan.
Pledging to lead in a bipartisan and unifying manner, he said that he would “work closely with President Muhammadu Buhari in the interest of Nigeria without compromising the integrity of the National Assembly as an independent arm with oversight powers.
“As lawmakers, one of the powerful tools we have for our work is the power of oversight, which is meant to enhance transparency and accountability.
“In exercising these powers, we will not only review, monitor and supervise projects being implemented by the Executive, we will critically examine them vis-à-vis the cost and whether they align with our national aspirations.”
He stated that given the dwindling resources amidst rising population, the Executive and Legislature must work cooperate and collaborate to deliver essential services to Nigerians, “in a season when majority of Nigerians are more concerned with outcomes that reflect their concerns.”
The President of Senate admitted that, “the system of checks and balances, which we practice in Nigeria today was enshrined to safeguard the values of justice and the rule of law and deliver public good.
“So, in exercising our mandate as lawmakers, we must at all times, and in all circumstances, be guided by how our action will positively impact the greater majority of our people.”