The wives of the 19 Northern State Governors have raised the alarm over the kidnapping and killing of their children from their religion by bandits.
They called for the total extermination of banditry for children in the region to feel at home with schooling and also participate in national developmental initiatives.
The Chairperson of the Northern State Governors Forum, Hadiza El-Rufai, disclosed to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday.
They are also poised to collaborate with the federal government to combat gender-based violence and drugs abuse.
According to her, the closure of schools is a short-term plan to tackle the kidnapping of school children, but that the security agencies must do all they can to defeat the bandits for all children to return to schools in the long run.
Hadiza, who is the First Lady of Kaduna State, who rolled out the activities of the forum in 2021 and 2022, said banditry is one of the issues security agencies must tackle to enable them achieved their objectives.
“We are concern about the kidnapping of school children. The short-term plan is about closing down the schools as Kaduna and Zamfara state are doing.
“You don’t put the children in danger by taking them to school. The bandits must be defeated at all costs.
“We cannot continue like this. We must defeat the bandits for children to go to school. In the short term, you must shut down the schools,” she said.
Also speaking, the vice-chairperson of the forum, who is also the First Lady of Kwara State, Ambassador Olufolake Abdulrazak, said they will ensure the sustainability of the programme even beyond 2023.
According to her, the programmes would be such that their successors would see their merits and ensure their sustainability.
Earlier, the Special Assistant to the President on social investment in the office of the vice president, Mariam Uwais briefed the governors’ wives on what the federal government is doing on empowerment of women, young girls and school children.
She said the federal government will get the data of out of school children and address their health concerns.
According to her, “The states has the constitutional mandate to bring the children to share a framework for digital skills, agriculture and other empowerment programmes.
“We are collaborating with the governor’s wives and other stakeholders to select 50 young educated but not employ youths in every local government empower them to mentor the young children and guide those that are out of school to return to the school and remain in schools.
“Fifty will be selected in every local government. They will be paid N30,000 which is the minimum wage. This will create capacity and create jobs for them,” Uwais said.