Wives of the 19 Northern State Governors on Saturday called for a total extermination of banditry for children in the region to freely go to school and participate in national development initiatives.
The Chairperson of Wives of Northern State Governors Forum, Hadiza El-Rufai, told newsmen in Abuja that they were also poised to collaborate with the federal government to combat gender-based violence and drugs abuse.
She said closure of schools was a short-term plan to tackle the kidnapping of school children, but that the security agencies must do all they could to defeat the bandits for all children to return to schools on the long run.
Hadiza, who is the First Lady of Kaduna State, while rolling out the activities of the Forum in 2021 and 2022, said banditry was one of the issues security agencies must tackle to enable them achieved their objectives.
“We are concerned about kidnapping of school children. The short-term plan is about closing down the schools as Kaduna and Zamfara states have done.
“You don’t put the children in danger by taking them to school. The bandits must be defeated at all cost.
“We cannot continue like this. We must defeat the bandits for children to go to school”, she said.
Also speaking, the Vice Chairperson of the Forum and First Lady of Kwara State, Ambassador Olufolake Abdulrazak, said they would ensure the sustainability of their activities beyond 2023.
According to her, the programmes would be such that their successors would see their merits and ensure their sustainability.
Earlier, the Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment, Office of the Vice President, Mariam Uwais, briefed the Governors’ wives on what the federal government was doing on empowerment of women, young girls and school children.