Tony John, Port Harcourt
National Association of Seadogs (NAS) has stated that Nigeria ranks highest in out-of-school-children in the world, according to the current record of the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
As Nigeria marks its 60th Independence Day Anniversary, NAS (also called “Pyrates Confraternity”) said the country has nothing to celebrate for, pointing to insecurity, hardship and poverty faced by ordinary citizens.
The Port Harcourt Chapter President of the Association, Ken Henshaw, made the statements on Thursday during their 2020 Free Medical Outreach organised for residents of Rumuolumeni community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers State.
Henshaw lamented that Nigeria at 60 has failed in the education, health and security sectors, adding that agitation for disintegration has threatened the country’s unity.
‘The current data released by UNICEF states that Nigeria has 10.5 million children, who are currently out of school. And that is the highest number of out-of-school children in the world.
‘So, we have a population between 180 million and 200 million. And out of that number, we have 10.5 million of our children without a future, without education, without any kind of skill. That is the reality. That is the kind of country we live in.
‘The question to ask yourself is in the next 10 years when Nigeria would be 70 years, where would these children who are currently out of school be? And that tells you simply that the insecurity in the country will country.
‘Today, Nigeria is 60. We are looking back at 60 years of independence. The reality of the Nigerian nation today, is it commensurable with the hope and expectations of that ushered our independence in 1960. The answer is no,’ Henshaw said.
He stated that NAS decided to carry out the Free Medical Outreach as part of its contributions to the society because, according to him, the government has an abysmal record in that sector.
In his goodwill message, the paramount ruler of the community, Eze Ndubeze Olumeni, commended the Association for the group’s philanthropic services to the society, particularly on health issues.
The monarch, who was represented by Chief Collins Wagba, described NAS’ gesture as worthwhile and called on other groups to emulate such humanitarian services rendered to members of the public.