The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, has said education is crucial to ensuring peace, security and rule of law in any society.
He said the security challenges confronting the country today are traceable to challenges in the nation’s education sector.
He made this statement while contributing to the General Debate on the theme: “Parliaments as Platforms to Enhance Education for Peace, Security and the Rule of Law” at the ongoing 140th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Doha, Qatar.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, the lawmaker said the National Assembly holds strongly that with the right education, Nigerian youths would be less susceptible to the radicalising influence of terrorist groups and other societal ills, thereby “helping to birth a more peaceful, secure and just society.”
“De-radicalisation programmes for former militants or insurgents have a strong education component, and these have proven very effective for peace-building and security.
“The Presidential Amnesty Programme for ex-Niger Delta militants involved free local and international tertiary education for former combatants. This is in recognition of the fact that education reduces youth restiveness, which in turn promotes peace,” he said.
He further explained that as part of parliament’s effort to ensure that education is built on solid foundation, the senate passed The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Amendment Act which guarantees free and compulsory education for all Nigerians up to secondary school level; while also increasing from two per cent to three per cent, the budgetary allocation to universal basic education.
“The law also makes it easier for states to access UBEC intervention funds, as the benchmark for counterpart funding has been reduced from 50% to 10%. This and other legislative interventions will make all the difference, we believe, in basic education in Nigeria.
“The 8th Senate is looking to amend the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) Act 2011 to include Colleges of Agriculture as beneficiaries of the fund, to improve the quality of education in those institutions. We amended the Federal Polytechnics Act to enhance the quality of learning as well as prospects of graduates in the job market,” he explained.
Mr Saraki said the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institution Bill, which was passed, aims to protect female students from gender-based violations.
He also said the eight assembly has acted decisively in the terrorism situation in the north with the passage of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) Act, “which is all about bringing people back from internally displaced camps back to normal life in the region. Children will go back into the school system and peace will return to those areas.”
He insisted that it is important for the General Assembly of the IPU to work for sustainable democracy through Parliaments and for better oversight by parliamentarians to ensure that set targets are met.