Borno State Government has awarded a N1.6 billion contract for the construction of nine mega primary schools, as part of efforts to overhaul the state’s education system.
The governor, Kashim Shettima, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri that the gesture was also aimed at providing access to education for over 49, 000 children orphaned by the Boko Haram crisis in the state.
“We have awarded contracts for the construction of nine mega primary schools across the state.
“We are also building a mega school in Maiduguri deliberately for the children orphaned by the Boko Haram crisis,” he said.
Mr. Shettima said the schools would have accommodation, kitchen and sporting facilities.
He explained that the action was part of government post insurgency plan to safeguard the future of children orphaned by the insurgency.
“It is gratifying to note that peace has started returning to this part of the world.
“But as we win the war against Boko Haram insurgents, we are yet to commence the bigger war of trying to meet the aspiration of about 49,000 children orphaned by the crisis in Maiduguri alone,” Mr. Shettima said.
He lamented that thousands of women had become widows after losing their husbands to the crisis which erupted in 2009.
Mr. Shettima said there was no concrete data on the number of children orphaned or women who lost their husbands in the crisis.
“Nobody can give the exact number of people affected or women who lost their bread winners, but there are thousands of them.
“It is in our own self-interest as a people to let these people have hope by educating the orphans and empowering the widows and make them have stake in the 21st Century,” he said.
Mr. Shettima pointed out that government must ensure the future of the orphans and the widows for posterity sake.
“If we fail to secure their future, they will turn to monsters that will haunt us in the nearest future.
“Along this line, we are determined to invest in the education of the children and that is why we are building the schools,” he said.
“Believe me, we are determined to change the face of Borno by the grace of Allah in the nearest future.
“We have been in the limelight for the wrong reasons,” he said.
Mr. Shettima also said that the government was striving to ensure the welfare of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), in spite of its limited resources.
“We have never downplayed the challenges facing us, especially, in the IDP camps.
“But lots of issues and politics are involved,” he said.
Mr. Shettima lamented that some politicians were using the security situation in the state to score political gains.
He said that government would not abandon its responsibility of providing welfare for the people in spite of the economic problem.
“The very existence of government has to do with security of the people and the contentment of the masses.
“Believe me, we are trying to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people in spite of the economic problem,” Mr. Shettima said.