Nigeria Northern Governors are to meet in Canada for a two -day summit. The summit slated for Thursday/Friday, August 1-2, 2019 will take place in Canada and will centre on education, solid minerals, agriculture, and health sub-sectors of the economy.
The summit is pertinent as Northern Nigeria is undergoing an intensive rebuilding process through the federal government intervention program. It is no gainsaying that the region has suffered a lot of devastating impacts arising from attacks by Boko Haram insurgents and banditry. These attacks have led to the loss of thousands of lives, destruction of property and social amenities which have negatively affected the region.
The Northern states particularly Borno, Zamfara, Kastina, Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba are the worst hit by the insurgency as Boko Haram and bandits have done more damage to the communities leaving thousands homeless and in various IDP camps across the country.
Due to the social and environmental conditions in Northern Nigeria, flexibility of both ecological management as well as economic activities which are vital components of any strategy for agricultural and rural livelihood in the region have been altered and to a greater measure affect the vamping and reviving of the rich agricultural heritage of the North that dates back to the Groundnut Pyramid and Animal Husbandry (Livestock) days in the region.
However, it is possible that an increase in population density may in fact have more positive rather than negative consequences for the economy as well as the environment.
The North has large deposits of solid minerals such as; gold, diamond, zinc, limestone, uranium, clay, marble, tantalite, magnesium, lead, etc.
Since independence in 1960, Northern Nigeria has had a very limited scope of legal coverage for social protection aside over 90 per cent of the Nigerian population being without a feasible health insurance policy. The Northern Nigerian health system has been evolving over the years through health care reforms aimed at addressing the public health challenges confronting it.
This includes: National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Immunisation Coverage Scheme (NICS), Midwives Service Scheme (MSS), and Nigerians Pay for Performance Scheme.
More so, the inability to effectively address the country’s numerous public health challenges has contributed to the persistent and high level of poverty and the weakness of the health system in Northern Nigeria.
Political instability, corruption, limited institutional capacity and an unstable economy are major factors responsible for the poor development of health services in Northern Nigeria.
Households and individuals in Nigeria bear the burden of a dysfunctional and inequitable health system – delaying or not seeking health care and having to pay out of their pockets for health care services that are not affordable and which have resulted to high mortality rates in the North.
School participation remains a challenge across the Northern states in Nigeria, and obstacles are particularly severe in the region.
In addition to issues of school access, family and school resources, and attitudes towards education, school attendance in Northern Nigeria is impeded by the increasingly brazen extremism of Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, and its targeting of the girl-child education. The group opposes the Western-style education associated with formal schooling in Nigeria and seeks to relegate women exclusively to the household.
As a result, risks associated with school-going are compounded for girls and boys, young women and young men in a context where female educational attainment is persistently low. Indeed, in many Northern states more than 50 per cent of young men and women aged between 15-24 years have not had any experience of formal education.
As we already know, education is the most powerful and potent weapon with which the world can be changed.
The Canadian Summit will therefore go a long way in addressing all these and also pave a new path for socio-economic and infrastructural development for Northern Nigeria if governors in the region will strive to make primary and secondary education free and compulsory as well as strictly adhere to a consistent implementation of all the issues and resolutions that will be deliberated upon, discussed and learned at the summit.
Assistant Editor (Political),
Governors Mandate Media,