Education; an effective way to solve Nigeria’s problem.

Nigeria today is plagued by myriads of problems, the most prominent of which include insurgency, extreme poverty, unemployment, and kidnapping. The government is actively combatting these problems by boosting the number of arms and personnel in the military and police and creating jobs or just paying lip service to the situation. Whatever the efforts of the government are, we see that these problems persist.

The solution to these problems would not come only from a reactionary or fire-for-fire approach as the military-style has failed. Military bombardment and more policing have failed to stop Boko Haram and kidnappers or provide jobs for the unemployed. Insecurity in Nigeria is a problem that has its roots deep in the makeup of the country; causal factors that have festered for many decades before manifesting in this manner. Some of these factors are lack of education,
unemployment, and general hopelessness in government and they lead to restiveness in society.

It is individuals who lack education, a skill, or means of livelihood who see the profitability in joining a terrorist group for the loot from pillaging villages. The point is, a gainfully-employed young person who has been adequately assimilated into society through education would find it hard to explore these crimes knowing full well that these are against the law and the punishment
means jail time or death.

Training through education and skill acquisition has controlled violent conflict in Nigeria before. The case of former agitators in the Niger Delta who are now educated and gainfully employed is an example of how education has been used to counter-violence. Education does not only equip individuals with skills, it gives one a whole new perspective on life. It gives one the requisite orientation to live and thrive in society. Access to education should therefore be increased for the most vulnerable in society so they do not end up feeling short-changed and taking up arms against government and individuals.

If it is a challenge for the government to solely and wholly sponsor education for the teeming Nigerians, there are several possible ways in which this problem of lack of funds can be tackled. Agriculture for example is one plausible way through which education can be sponsored because it is a widely practiced business and it is available and accessible by almost everyone.

Some valuable agricultural produce could be exchanged for money to sponsor education. Such products include livestock such as goats, pigs, sheep, and poultry. If each parent of a vulnerable child is identified and ‘empowered’ with one agricultural animal, it should be able to reproduce and pay the fees for such a child for many years in school. This formula is workable and it should be tested especially in the rural North where feed for these animals is readily available
and where the problem with sponsoring education exists due to poverty.

Finally, the budgetary allocation for education should be increased. Nigeria’s annual allocation to the education sector is a far cry from the 10% to 15% recommended by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for developing countries. There is no gainsaying that the neglect of education, which in essence translates to national orientation for the Nigerian masses has contributed to our present problems and we should begin to rectify this situation in the right way, notably by increasing access to quality education for all Nigerians.

This article was written by Lubem David, A content writer with TYLC.

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