The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said that the rate of illiteracy in Nigeria is alarming, according to him, between 65 and 75 million Nigerians are illiterate.
Mr. Adamu visited Birnin Kebbi, the capital of Kebbi State, for a two-day International Literacy Day conference organised by the National Commission for Mass Education.
The Minister who was represented at the event by the Director of Basic and Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Jonathan Mbaka, described the illiteracy level as high considering Nigeria’s population of an estimated 180million.
“Education is the bedrock of any country’s development and any country that does not educate its populace is bound to fail. He said
“Unfortunately, in Nigeria we have a very large population of illiterates; the illiterates figure, considering our population, is unbecoming,’’ he added.
He said that the federal government in its plans to reduce the number of illiterates in the country will educate more out of school children.
“The government is doing all it can to reduce the number of children that are out of school.
“This includes the adoption of inclusive education where every Nigerian will be given the opportunity to go to school, regardless of background, ethnicity and gender,’’ he said.
He also lauded Mrs. Aisha Bagudu, the wife of the governor, for her contribution to the reduction of illiteracy in Nigeria, through her Mass Almajiri Literacy and Poverty Alleviation Initiative (MALPAI).
Governor Bagudu in his response noted that most problems been faced in Nigeria were due to the level of illiteracy in Nigeria. He expressed gratitude to them for assembling in Kebbi State to discuss on how to reduce illiteracy in Nigeria.
“We have an army of people whose inability to read can be exploited by divisive elements in the country.
“I am very proud that we are hosting eminent delegates from across the federation at the time like this, where there is tension, and fear in Nigeria.
“For you to ignore fears that a few people cannot intimidate us is commendable.
“Our destiny remains in our hands and not allowing inconsequential elements to determine our fate is also commendable,’’ he said.