The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, has described the number of out-of-school children in the North as both alarming and a time bomb.
Quoting a report which said that 13 million to 14 million out-of-school children were in the north, Lawan noted that such portends danger for the country.
He therefore said the North as a region must wake up and reverse the trend.
Speaking at the 60th birthday of Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Monday, Lawan stated: “Until we are able to reverse this kind of trend, no matter how much infrastructure you put, you will still have that social angle that will actually lead to serious insecurity, the kind that we experience or even worse, God forbid. So, we need to look at the people.”
The lawmaker called on the Federal Government, to, without delay, come up with policies that would return the over 13 million out-of-school-children to school to curb the rising number of illiterates in the country.
He posited that the country was at a crossroads, calling on Nigerians leader to come together and discuss Nigeria’s unity.
“Nothing has been done to address the multifaceted problems bedevilling the country like the issue of out-of-school children. To me this is a time bomb.
“Those of us in leadership positions, we know what we need to do. We need to have courage and commitment and sustain them.
“Nigeria is at a crossroads, and more than ever now requires the unity of the people. The issues bedevilling Nigeria today require that all leaders, at all levels and in all parts of Nigeria come together,” the Senate President maintained.
Also speaking at the event, the celebrant, El-Rufai, disclosed that his most daring decision so far has been picking a Muslim woman as his deputy.
According to him, he made the choice as a way of downplaying religion and ethnicity in Kaduna State, having inherited a state that was so ethnicized and religionized.
He said: “A lot has been said about some of the decisions I have taken over the years, what people call daring decisions.
“Let me make a confession today. All the examples of the decisions that I have made that are supposed to be daring and courageous; the most daring one is that last year, I took a decision to pick a woman, a Muslim, as my running mate to contest election in Kaduna State.
“It was the most daring decision I have taken because in this state, everything is religionised.
“We are trying to cure our state of that religionisation and ethnicisation and I thought the best way to do it is to take religion off the table of Kaduna State politics. That was why we finally settled for Dr. Hadiza Balarabe.”