President Muhammadu Buhari says the elite might be failing Nigerians when it comes to education.
Buhari made this comment when he hosted Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, ministers, service chiefs, heads of security agencies and chief executives of federal government agencies and institutions to iftar (breaking of fast) at the presidential villa on Monday.
Making reference to Almajiris, the president said he is upset with the level of poverty in the land.
As at October 2018, Nigeria had 13.2 million out-of-school children according to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Nigerian government.
Buhari said the elite should be able to execute projects that would guarantee basic education for Nigerians irrespective of their financial situation.
He, however, commended the school feeding initiative, saying it has increased children’s enrolment in schools.
“When I drive around the country what upset me very much is the status of our poor people in this country – you see young people, the so-called Almajiris with tore dresses, with plastic bowl. They are looking basically for what to eat,” Buhari said.
“The question of education (to them) is a luxury. I think Nigerian elite we are all failing because I think we should have a programme that will at least guarantee some basic education for our people no matter how poor they are.
“So, I welcome the Vice-President for initiating the School feeding programme. If you check in your localities the enrolment into schools improved because a lot of children can get at least one good meal a day. This is the position of this country.”
Commenting on Trader Moni, Buhari said he had initially kicked against the scheme for fear that the vice president would be mobbed.
“This `market money’ I warned the Vice-President I don’t like him to be mobbed, especially the way I see hefty women coming and confronting him, he should be very careful,” he said.
“These are very good initiatives. Initially, I was quite reluctant but I must admit that they are very good programmes and they endear this government to a lot of poor people because of these N5,000 or N10,000 being given to them as loans.
They are fantastic programmes and I have to admit quite honestly that the Vice-President was ahead of me by insisting on them.
“But he knows me if he insists I will say `okay go and do what you like.’ He did it and I’m very pleased as he is being very successful.”