By Aminu Dalhatu
Kaduna State government has assured to work closely with religious leaders to address the challenges of over eighty percent poverty rate in the rural areas and out of school children for peace and development across the state.
The State governor, Malam Uba Sani stated this during a quarterly meeting with the Kaduna State Committee on Inter-Religious Harmony, to promote peace and enhance security held in Kaduna.
Governor Sani pleaded with the religious leaders of Muslim and Christian faiths to support the government through preaching of peace among their followers.
He said there cannot be peace and security in the state when 80 per cent of the citizens, especially in the rural areas areas are living in extreme poverty.
According to him, there are over 600,000 out of school children in the state and they must be returned to school for peace to rein in the state.
The Governor said in recognition of the social problems in the state, his administration would be rolling out a lot of social interventions and it would involve religious leaders because of their closeness to the people at the grassroots level.
“We are having problems. That is why I told you that there is poverty crisis in the rural areas; 80 per cent of our people there are living below the poverty line. That is the fact of the matter”
“Last month, we started construction of 32 road across the state, most of which are in the rural areas. Again”
Governor Uba Sani also announced that, from next week, Kaduna State government would commence building of 100 schools to take care of out of school children as a way to address the problem.
“Children of the poor who are supposed to be in the classroom are roaming the streets and we say we want to solve the problem of insecurity? It cannot happen. Therefore, we must take them back to school”
“Again, our research has shown that, majority of this children are at home because of poverty. People in the rural areas don’t send their children to school because they want them to go to farm or go to hawk. So, if we don’t reduce the poverty rate from 80 per cent to at least 30 per cent in the next few years, we will never be able to address the problem of out of school children.”
The Governor emphasized that hos government must to revitalize the economy of the rural areas through job creation to end poverty.
Malam Uba Sani also disclosed that the state government would work with the religious leaders to generate data of orphans in the state for the 5,000 scholarship program by Qatar Charity Foundation.
The Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria CAN in Kaduna State, Reverend John Joseph Hayab said, with support and cooperation of the government, religious leaders can change the negative story of Kaduna to a positive one like they did in the past, which led to nine years of peace in the state.
On his part, the Chairman Jama’atu Nasril Islam JNI, Kaduna State, Professor Shafiu Abdullahi called for the establishment of two unity schools to be sited one each in south and north of the state.
Professor Shafiu believed that, such would foster unity in the state, as against the common tradition of faith based schools that have left children unexposed to the culture and religions of others.