The National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo came up with a resolution on Thursday to proscribe the Almajiri system of learning prevalent in northern Nigeria.
The NEC members, which consist of serving state governors, came up with the resolution as part of new strategies to put a check on rising insecurity in the country.
National Security Adviser, Babagana Mongunu, who dropped the hint while briefing State House correspondents on their deliberations at the meeting, said they came to the realisation that the new wave of crimes such as banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery was being perpetrated by people who have been denied education.
He said other key findings by the security agencies regarding the escalation of terrorism and other forms of criminality were rooted in poverty, unemployment, under-employment and lack of education.
The NSA explained that these factors were now taking their toll on the country, hence the government’s resolution to take some drastic measures.
Mongunu said, “I also made suggestions regarding the way forward which include employment creation and reduction of poverty.
“And as the president has mentioned earlier while he was inaugurating the National Economic Council, we need to make education compulsory and free for every child in the country because the problems we face today are rooted in the fact that a lot of people have been denied the opportunity to get formal education over the years.
“There is accumulation of large mass of human beings who end up becoming criminals, drug addicts and so on and so forth. And they end up becoming tools to be used by elements in the wider society who have very dangerous intentions.
“And therefore, it is very important to proscribe certain groups ultimately running around under the guise of maybe getting some kind of education that is not really formal and then begin to cause a lot of problems for society”.
Mongunu’s justification came few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the governors to “enforce very vigorously” free and compulsory basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents on how the initial $1 billion deducted from the Excess Crude Account and approved by NEC to tackle insecurity last year was spent, Mongunu failed to give detailed explanation.
Although the question was directed at the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, who has been in the system, he stylishly declined to answer the question, saying the NSA was in a better position to answer such question.
When Mongunu made attempts to answer the question, he simply said, “I believe that money was released for the military to procure equipment. How it was spent, I wouldn’t know. But I think that money was used by the military to procure equipment”.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said the meeting took a review of the security situation in the country, where issues of banditry, kidnapping and cultism were acknowledged to be on the rise.
The IGP, who gave assurance that the government was not resting on its oars to ensure that the entire country was safe, said. “Within the framework of operations like Puff Adder, lots of suspects have been arrested. Part of the strategy we are adopting now is to bring back the safer city concept by bringing the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). We have started with FCT, we have written to state governors asking them to key into the concept”.