The former CBN governor and the Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi Lamido, has charged multinational corporations and development agencies to begin to look at human infrastructure.
Sanusi noted that the corporations lend too much to the government for physical infrastructure instead of investing in the education of children, teachers and scholarships.
Sanusi made this disclosure at the 6th Edition of Lafarge’s Literacy Competition held yesterday in Lagos.
Sanusi stated that the youths should be invested inconsequently to develop the infrastructures in the country instead.
“It is time for a lot of multinational corporations, development agencies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank and others to begin to look at human infrastructure.
“We lend too much money to the government to build roads, to build bridges, to build airports, to build seaports and there isn’t enough to invest in the education of children, teachers and scholarships.
“But give out a billion dollars to build a highway to pay 40 years on concessionary terms. Give us a billion dollars in educating the girl child. That is far more useful to them.
“So, you should begin to look at the debt portfolio and you begin to get long term concessionary development loan that is put into developing young engineers that will fit into building these roads and bridges themselves rather than giving us loans to build beautiful bridges in the north and the children walking on the streets don’t have education and they are hungry,” Sanusi said.
He also urged the private sector to take a cue from Lafarge, understanding that government is not buoyant to educate all the out-of-school children.
The Emir added that there is a need for private sectors to invest in teachers’ training, technology and new ways of doing things.
“I think it is important for us to take a cue from Lafarge and understand that government does not have enough money to educate all these children.
“We don’t have enough money for example in the state in the north to put all the out-of-school children in the school even if we spend the entire budget of the state government.
“So, there is a need for the private sector to come in to invest in teachers’ training, invest in technology and to invest in new ways of doing things.
“There is a need to look at teaching local languages. I have spoken about the need to leverage a cellphone to deliver education.
“I have spoken about the need to convert houses, places of worship to schools so that we don’t start to build brick and water primary school in one corner of the country,” he said.
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Meanwhile, the former governor charged the civil societies and the general public to scrutinise the budget of government in order to know what is budgeted for education and the girl child.
“Your budget is what tells us what your priority is and I think it is very important for the civil societies and the general public to hold the government to account by examining how much budgeted for education and into what areas that budget is being put into.
“Let us begin to scrutinise the budget of government from the federal to the state, asking how much is being budgeted for education.
“I think we need to be very frank and honest from 2019. Very often, we all speak about how education is very important and concerned about girl child education.
“And when the budget comes out, you will find out that nothing really is devoted to those areas.
“The issue of education and out-of-school children in the country is a matter of great concern to the whole of Africa.
“Nigeria is home to one out of six school-age children that are out of school according to various statistics.
“To be honest, this does not even include those children that have gone through the six years of primary education and have not been able to read and write,” he said.
In her brief remarks, the wife of the governor of Ogun state, Her Excellency, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, said that all hands must be on deck to make the country’s educational system enviable.
Bamidele noted that parents, teachers, public and private sectors must be visible in the country’s educational project.
“Education must be available for all Nigerians. In order to achieve this, we all have to work together.
“Parents, teachers, public and private sector players must work together,” Bamidele said.
“ I would like to charge you to continue to learn and increase your vocabularies because it will boost your confidence.”
Bamidele noted that education is an investment that will yield great returns in the future.
Also speaking, the Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, said that Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition has since grown to become a national initiative positively impacting children and teachers across the country having been launched as a flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) intervention by Lafarge Africa in 2014.
“Our target was to increase the literacy skills of 500 primary school pupils in our host communities by at least 25%.
“Since its inception, the competition has impacted more than 700,000 primary school pupils in 1,665 schools across 544 Local Government Areas (LGAs)”.
Folashade noted that promoting literacy and education over the years has proven to be an effective approach to alleviating poverty and improving the well-being of society.
She added that Lafarge Africa is leveraging on the national literacy competition in achieving equality and fostering sustainable development across Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Rivers State won the 2019 Lafarge’s Literacy competition, with Ogun and Enugu states as second and third places respectively.