With over 62 million Nigerians unable to read or write, Nigeria is said to be contributing about six per cent of the over 1 billion illiterate people around the World.
The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult Education and Non-Formal Education disclosed in Kebbi that the nation’s illiteracy burden was still high.
Prof. Abba Haladu, Executive Secretary of the commission said this while on a courtesy visit to the Emir of Gwando in Kebbi state as part of activities to mark the International Literacy Day celebration.
Haladu who called on the state government to ensure that its indigenes could read and write said that illiteracy burden was still very high in the Northern part of Nigeria.
“The North-East and North-West of Nigeria have the biggest challenge as far as illiteracy is concerned and Kebbi state has a large share of it.
“We use this opportunity to reiterate and appeal to the state government and Emirate council to ensure the large number of non- literate citzens are provided with the access and opportunity to be able to read and write.
“Also to enshrine in the them the culture of life long learning, so that will be the root of the development of the people of Kebbi state and nigeria as a whole.
He thanked the Emir and the state government for their support to mass literacy and Non-Formal Education.
Haladu also thanked the Emirate council and state government for the honour to host the 2017 International Literacy Day.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu in his remarks said Nigeria had a high illiteracy rate and the highest number of out of school children.
Adamu, represented by Mr Jonathan Mbaka, Director, Basic and Secondary Education in the Ministry, however said the present administration was doing everything to address the issue .
The minister said education was the foundation for growth and development adding that any nation that neglects education was heading for failure.
“This administration will not stop stressing the need for literacy; we are advocating for inclusive education for all,” he said.
In his response the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Iliyasu Bashar said the government of Kebbi was committed to ensure all children were educated in the state.
Bashar who is the 20th Emir of Gwando and a Retired Maj-Gen, noted that Gwando had been the centre for Islamic education since after the Jihad.
Bashar however acknowledged that education was one of the problems in some local governments of the state.
“In one of the local governments we visited recently; we have told them to find out how many primary schools, classrooms, how many boys and girls in school and how many qualified and un qualified teacher they have.
“We are very concerned about education in the state and we want all our children to be educated. ”
The Emir also said that the Governor of the state had taken the responsibility to pay for scholarships for students in higher institutions.
He called on parents to ensure their children were educated saying nobody wants to associate with an illiterate.
The Emir also called on the Commission for Mass to ensure illiteracy is eradicated in the country.
“Education is vital, with education you know what is happening, government and people will work with you.
“It is time for us in Nigeria to correct this neglect to ensure we are no longer seen as a country that has the highest number of uneducated people. ”
The theme for 2017 literacy day is “Literacy in a Digital world. ”
The two day celebration which commenced on the 20th has in attendance education stakeholders from across the country and international bodies.