El-Rufai berates North-West govs over education, healthcare underfunding

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai

The Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, has criticized governors, especially of North-Western states for underfunding education and health care.

He added that the governors should not allocate less than 40 per cent of their budgets for the sectors as important as health and education.

El-Rufai spoke on Monday at the launch of the Human Capital Development Communications Strategy Validation Meeting at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

He said, “I represent the North-West zone of the Human Capital Development Council. As you know, our part of the country is known for some of the highest poverty rates and school dropout rates.

“Many of our schools are closed due to the insecurity, making our educational situation worse.

“Our health statistics are no better. When you classify the national data into zones and regions, it is clear that most of southern Nigeria have statistics that are middle income, while most of North-West have human development indices that are closer to those of Afghanistan.

“We have the highest population of any geopolitical zone in the country. That is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing if we give them skills for the future but a curse if they are not educated.

“We don’t invest in education, health care and skills; why are the state governments not budgeting at least 35 to 36 per cent in education and 15 per cent for health care as recommended by UN agencies? When these monies are budgeted, why are they not spent?

“The reason is very simple; politicians have a four-year vision, while education is a generational investment. It takes 30 years for an investment in education to show.

“They say it’s not because of poor health care that people die, it is believed that it is your time. In my opinion, the most important targets of this message are political leaders.”

He said in Kaduna State, his administration took a difficult step to clean up the education system by sacking 42,000 under qualified teachers.

El-Rufai said all seven governors in the North-West realised the position of the region and they were working very to reduce the number of out-of-school and at-risk children.

“At least 40 per cent should be budgeted for education. And I’m proud to say that in Kaduna State we have never budgeted less than 42 per cent for education and health care alone.

He thanked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for leading the HCD initiative.

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