By Ekemini Simon
Akwa Ibom State is home to the second highest number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, data published in the 2018 digest of basic education statistics by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) shows.
This data was also published last month, August by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its 2020 report on women and men.
The report revealed that Kano State had the most Out-of-School children with 989,234, while Akwa-Ibom followed with (581,800), Katsina (536,122) and Kaduna (524,670) followed closely.
Other states that ranked high on the list are Taraba (499,923), Sokoto (436,570), Yobe (427,230), Zamfara (422,214) and Bauchi (354,373).
The states with the lowest numbers of out-of-school children were Cross River with 97,919, Abia with 91,548, Kwara with 84,247, Enugu with 82,051, Bayelsa with 53,079, FCT with 52,972 and Ekiti with 50,945.
The report pointed out that a quarter of Nigeria’s 40.8 million school-age children were not attending primary education.
The 10 states at the top of the chart had about 5.2 million of the country’s about 10.2 million out-of-school children.
Also, the 2020 statistical report on women and men in Nigeria shows that Akwa Ibom State ranks the worst State with (70) points on infant mortality rate among the southern States in Nigeria.
The oil rich State however ranked 7th on the ladder in Nigeria. Most of the top ranking States were the Northern States. Kebbi State had the highest infant mortality rate of 112 while Ogun State had the lowest infant mortality of 19 per 1,000 live births.
Infant mortality rate is the probability of children dying before their first birthday. Infant Mortality rate was 67 per 1,000 live births in 2018 as recorded in NDHS, 2018 report.
Attempt to reach the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Idongesit Etiebet and her Counterpart in Ministry of Health, Prof. Augustine Umoh was futile. Neither did they respond to their phone calls nor text messages sent to their phone lines seeking government response to the ranking and what they plan doing to change the narrative positively.
Responding through text message, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Augustine Umoh said the report does not reflect the reality on ground. ” This is not so”, he said.