By Onimisi Alao, Yola
The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has begun a right to education campaign in Adamawa State.
The organisation said in Yola, the Adamawa State capital during an interaction with reporters that it would launch the campaign against the fact that over 13.5 million Nigerian children, a huge number of them in the Northeast, are unable to access free and quality basic education.
LEDAP, which is running the education awareness campaign in partnership with Malala Fund said crisis, insecurity, cultural and religious dispositions and poor funding have been limiting factors to quality education and that COVID-19 has come to worsen an already high incidence of children dropping out of school in Adamawa and the rest of the Northeast states.
The Executive Programme Manager of LEDAP, Pamela Okoroigwe who was represented by Nari Welye, said that children must go to school against all odds.
She revealed that in 2017, LEDAP obtained a judgment in the case of LEDAP Vs Federal Ministry of Education and Anor, which makes the right to free, compulsory and quality basic education an enforceable human right.
Pamela Okoroigwe, who said the aim of LEDAP’s campaign was to provide a solution to the “poor education enrolment and high rate of school dropout” of children in Nigeria, urged the Adamawa State government to take appropriate actions to promote free and quality basic education for all, especially girls.
Explaining that the campaign of her organisation covers Bauchi, Kaduna and Kano in addition to Adamawa State, the LEDAP’s Programme Manager urged the states to prioritise education and guarantee that no child is denied access to it.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Adamawa State Ministry of Education, Mr Sunday Stephen, thanked LEDAP for including Adamawa among states to benefit from its education awareness campaign.
On the criticism that pupils still pay Parent-teacher Association (PTA) levies despite the state’s free education policy, the Permanent Secretary explained that levies are no fees.
“PTA levies are exclusive charges arranged between PTAs and schools that take such levies for extra-curricular activities are not school fees because the government does not charge any fee,” he said.