The Niger government said it will use the At-Risk Project of the Federal Government to empower out-of-school children and youths in the state to make them productive in the society.
The wife of the state governor, Dr. Amina Bello, who was also the Convener of the ARC-P project, said this when she received a team of delegations on Thursday from the ARC-P project led by the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment in Minna, Hajiya Maryam Uwais.
She said that the State government had indicated interest to key into the ARC-P to support the vulnerable and out-of-school children along with the teeming unemployed youths with a life of dignity.
Bello said that statistics had shown that Niger was among the states with the highest number of out-of-school children, hence the project would support more than 72,000 out-of-school children.
“We have children who have been out-of-school, some because their parents cannot afford to send them to school or were displaced by banditry, while some are due to the Almajirai system being practiced.
“All these factors have led to social exclusion and chronic poverty, thus churning out young people with little or no formal education and lacking employable skills,” she said.
Uwais noted that among the visions of the project was to comprehensively address cross-cutting concerns of at-risk children and provide them with a life of dignity.
She said the project would facilitate programmes that would ensure the integration of out-of-school children and young adults by creating opportunities for skills and empowerment to reduce their vulnerabilities.
According to her, the ARC-P will nurture children with dignity and respect, raise equality citizens and bridge the poverty gap.
In their separate remarks, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane and the State Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Zakari Abubakar, said that the initiative would help in reducing the high rate of out-of-school children.
They observed that COVID-19 pandemic further escalated the issue with the deportation of thousands of Almajiri children from different states without any protective safeguards in spite of their multiple vulnerabilities.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the event witnessed interactions and visitations to Sangaya School (Almajiri), among others.