By Ishaq Dan-Imam, Lokoja
Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Mr. Wumi Jones, says the World Bank makes the Child Rights Law (CRL) a precondition for states to access the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment, (Agile) grants to the eleven participating states in Nigeria.
Mr. Jones, disclosed this to the state child rights law Advocacy team during an advocacy visit to the state ministry of education, science, and technology by the state child rights law cluster, in the Commissioner’s office.
He also disclosed that Kogi state was among the eleven states that will access part of the US$ 500 million dollars earmarked by the World Bank to fund the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (Agile) Project, which aims at improving secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas in the participating states including Kogi state.
The Commissioner says Kogi state like every other participating state, must fulfill the precondition required for accessing the fund, which will assist the state to achieve its policy objectives in girl child education priority, initiated for the African developing countries by the World Bank.
The education commissioner says the state is lucky, having domesticated the child rights law since 2019, with the nine functional family courts in operation out of the 21 family courts the state is in need of based on the provisions of the child rights law, 2023.
“Our Governor is committed to any project that adds value to life in Kogi state, and the child rights law Scale project is of immense value to us as a government committed to serving the people to live a better life, where children are given rightful priority in the scheme of things,” Mr. Jones said.
He opines that the state needs full implementation of the child rights law as the state prepares for the next phase of its full implementation without hiccups assuring the state that Governor Yahaya Bello has the political will to implement the CRL state implementation Committee to the glory of the state.
“We at the ministry of education will work with other relevant ministries to ensure the setting up of the state CRL implementation Committee, and be rest assured that Governor Yahaya Bello, will certainly give priority to full implementation of the child rights law has demonstrated unrivaled commitment to the educational development of our children through the holistic overhaul of the educational system in the state, which has yielded noticeable improvement in our educational infrastructure.
“The funding, planning, as well as the execution of the laudable educational developments and projects, was as a result of the efficiency in our educational system. And, we believe the child rights law is an impetus to educational development in the state.”
According to the World Bank, the development objective of the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment Project is to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas in participating states in Nigeria.
The Agile project has 30 years maturity period and 5 years grace, and the project has three components, which according to the world bank, include creating Safe and Accessible Learning Spaces; ( Creating new safe learning spaces in secondary schools, Improving existing infrastructure in secondary schools); Fostering an enabling environment for girls, towards empowering girls with critical life skills knowledge for navigating adulthood and digital literacy skills; project management and system strengthening for sustainability and technical assistance among others.
The Team Leader of the Child Rights Law Advocacy Cluster, Mr. Titus Alonge, appealed to the Kogi state government to approve the full implementation of the child rights law to bring about the full realization of the key five policy demands of the CRL from this year’s budget.
Mr. Alonge, says the project takes precedence over everything else as he urges the state government to take a pragmatic approach to CRL implementation rather than the current piecemeal approach.
He wants the state government and the Governor, in particular, to ensure that the child rights law takes a pre-eminence in budgetary allocation and releases, adding that the state stands a chance to derive numerous benefits from the child rights law when implemented fully in the state as tens and thousands of children would be saved from deprivation, abuse, and parental neglect, thereby reducing the rampant cases of child rights violations and a reduction in youth restiveness considerably.
“We hope Governor Yahaya Bello will dispassionately approve the five key demands; ensure the release of budgetary funding; take a pragmatic approach to CRL implementation this year. We also expect the government to take ownership of the child rights law Advocacy and implement the law with promptitude, vigor, tenacity, and courage.”
He lamented the nonchalance of the parents to the education and well-being of their children, which often gives rise to lots of societal vices whereby the street children are involved in the social malaise that is inimical to societal growth.
According to the World Bank, the Agile project runs from 2022 till July 31, 2025, as the closing date with the federal ministry of education as the implementing agency