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Deadly floods have submerged communities in Nigeria, killed over 600 persons and displaced over a million people after the government failed to act on earlier warnings, posing a setback for the country’s education target as schools are forced to shutdown.

The government of Anambra and Bayelsa states explained that the closure of both public and private schools became necessary to ensure the safety of schoolchildren.

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In June, the Nigerian government launched a Human Capital Development (HCD) strategic plan where it highlighted key targets for the education sector, including reducing the number of out-of-school-children by 70 per cent before 2030.

The HCD strategy aims to promote a quality, inclusive and functional education system and build the capacity of youths to create or seek employment, as part of measures to address poverty and ensure participatory and sustainable economic growth.

An investigation carried out by (TNG) three months ago, reported that there were about 18.5 million out-of-school-children in Nigeria, but this figure has now increased by 1.5 million, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The new UNESCO data shows that 20 million out of the estimated 98 million out-of-school-children in sub-Saharan Africa, are in Nigeria, the highest in the region, leading countries like Ethiopia with 10.5 million, the Democratic Republic of Congo (5.9million) and Kenya (1.8million).

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) recently called off it eight months strike action, but may students are unable to resume school as a result of the floods which have blocked access roads and hiked cost of transportation.

Students of the Federal University Otuoke, are yet to resume school more than one week after the strike was called off by ASUU, as a result of the flood which has affected major roads leading to the institution.

In an internal memo signed by the Registrar
Yousou Donal Iruo, sighted by our reporter, the school will be open for on-premises lectures on November 20th, even though lecturers have been directed to commence online interface with students via zoom.

“Senate in its 80th (Emergency) Meeting took cognizance of the precarious in Bayelsa State and scheduled completion of 2020/2021 academic session.

“Lecturers are directed to commence online interface with students (via Zoom) for completion of remaining lectures, project supervision and revision, pending the approved week of physical interaction and continuous assessment,” the notice stated.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, directed the Minister of Water Resources to lead and coordinate with the Ministries of Environment and Transportation as well as State Governments to develop a Comprehensive Plan of Action for preventing future flood disaster within the next 90 days.

The directive comes a day after an advocacy group, Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urged the government to respond to the impacts of the flooding, and climate change.

In a statement, SERAP expressed concern that years of allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending of Ecological Fund and entrenched impunity of perpetrators have undermined the ability of governments to prevent the impact of flooding on the human rights of socio-economically vulnerable Nigerians, and to effectively respond to the problem.

“Allegations of corruption and mismanagement have undermined the ability of authorities at all levels to invest in drainage systems, and to tackle soil erosion and climate change challenges across several parts of the country,” the statement said.

The Nigerian Government has also been advised to explore Public Private Partnership, in the dredging of the two major rivers – Niger and Benue – in Nigeria and construction of dams that will mitigate the impact when excess water is released from Lagdo Dam in Cameron. resolving the perennial flooding disaster facing the country.

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