The Adamawa State Government has commended the efforts of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at mitigating conflicts and improving education and governance in Nigeria.
Mrs Wilbina Jackson, Adamawa State Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on the sidelines of a three-day orientation workshop for Adamawa State Transformation Committee, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The workshop is organised by the Adamawa State Government, in collaboration with USAID, through its State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness (State2State) Project.
Jackson said the technical support being provided by State2State, would go a long way in tackling the problem of out-of-school children, which she said was not peculiar to Adamawa State.
“The issue of out-of-school children is one of the major challenges in Adamawa, caused by insecurity and other societal problems.
“The state government is working hard to ensure that our schools are well secured to improve enrolment of students, while encouraging those who are out of school to return.
“We discovered that students in boarding schools and schools at the borderline are often most hit when it cones to insecurity, and we are doing everything within our power to secure them.
“For instance we have a local government known as Toungo, which is at the border with Cameroun. In areas like this, more efforts are being made to ensure schools are fenced, and there is presence of security personnel.”
Jackson added that other priority areas of need in education in the state were issues of technology and human resources, adding that more than 2,000 teachers would soon be employed to fill the gap.
On conflict mitigation, the commissioner said the deployment of conflict experts by USAID to train the state transformation committee members, would help find lasting solution to conflicts.
Dr Ishaya Dabari, Adamawa State Commissioner Finance and Budget, said one of the cardinal objectives of the workshop was drawing an action plan for the state, in collaboration with USAID’s project on State2State.
According to Dabari, the action plan will emphasise priority areas of the State2State project, such as education; health; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH), as well as conflict mitigation.
“We believe that their intervention will enhance the level of transparency and accountability to provide governance.
“Ensuring dividends of democracy for the people has been one of the major focuses of the present government and the State2State activity will further entrench it.
“The State2State is adding impetus to our capacity to perform better.
“For instance, we have employed over 1,500 staff for primary healthcare at the local government level this year.
“In the area of education, we are in the process of engaging over 2000 teachers, to enhance secondary school enrolment.”
On the isuue of insecurity, which has affected education, healthcare and other sectors, Dabari said the government was very mindful of the challenges.
“So the government is doing all within its power to mitigate attacks on institutions in the state.”
The finance commissioner further noted that the issue of youth empowerment was also a priority in the state.
He assured that the collaboration with USAID would help the state achieve its aims and objectives.
A conflict expert, Danjuma Mohammed, said State2State would empower or build capacity of those with requisite skills or critical stakeholders, to resolve violent conflicts.
He said: “State2State seeks to ensure that priority sectors like water, health and education, are paid attention to and that facilities in these sectors are protected.”
The State2State Deputy Chief of Party, Mr John Onyeukwu, on his part, said the major objective of the project was to improve service delivery in education, health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH), as well as conflict mitigation.
Onyeukwu said in view of this, State2State would be building capacity of relevant stakeholders to deliver on the mandate.
“We will be training 40 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), in each of the six states that we are collaborating with, on budget advocacy and monitoring.
“We want to provide them some coaching, so that they will be able to effectively work with states in public finance management,” he said.
On expanding the scope of the project to accommodate more states, Onyeukwu assured Nigerians that plans were underway to include more states.
He said the expectation was for the project to impact on states to develop better finance public management system, to meet citizens’ expectations.
He said: “We expect that this will translate to better service delivery in primary healthcare, basic education, WASH and reduction in conflict.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that USAID is partnering Adamawa and five other states on a five year project to promote transparency, accountability and effectiveness.
Other benefitting states include; Gombe, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto.