By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on stakeholders to lend more support and interventions towards the education of displaced children in the North East.
Osinbajo was the Special Guest of Honour at the Atlantic Hall School’s 30th Anniversary Celebration and Launch of Endowment Fund for Indigent Scholars on Saturday in Lagos.
The vice president said he and some friends had set up a fund and built schools accommodating no fewer than 1500 displaced children in the North East.
He said that thousands of children, especially girls who had lost their parents in the North East, were still displaced.
“Permit me to throw a challenge to the Board of trustees and all of us here; in Aug., 2015, I paid my first official visit to Maiduguri, Borno State to inspect the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other facilities for the victims of the conflict in the Northeast.
“We counted over 49,000 young children who had lost their parents; almost half of them girls; that was only in parts of the metropolis; there were thousands more.
“The tragedy of conflict and its outcomes in poverty and displacement is stark; governments alone cannot handle it; there are international NGOs here and there but the local private response is still so little.
“I met with a group of friends and set up the North East Children Fund NECT, chaired by Jim Ovia; the objective is to build learning Centres/schools equipped to handle traumatized children, and give them world class education and care.
“We have built the first accommodating over 1500; we have taken over another school for about 700, and are looking at the prospects of a bigger facility,’’ he said.
He said that the board invited Grange School, Lagos to help in teacher and school experience orientation and it had done a wonderful job.
According to him, in spite of the best efforts of the Borno State government, much more remains to be done.
The vice president commended the selflessness and enterprising spirit of the founders of Atlantic Hall who not only dared to envision the great institution but committed their lives and resources to it.
He said the products of the school had excelled in their various fields of endeavour.
On her part, the Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, lauded the wisdom of the founding sisters who conceived the vision of establishing school.
Represented by Mrs Mary Paul, Managing Partner, Mopson Pharmaceuticals Limited, Buhari said she was heartily accepting being the Grand Matron of the Endowment Fund for Indigent Students.
“Your story is success; as products of the institute have distinguished themselves in the society and in the world at large.
“I am particularly impressed that the Atlantic Hall is not an elitist school but accommodates 20 per cent of its annual intake from the indigent groups as a matter cooperate social responsibility through the empowerment fund.
“Once again, I can congratulate you on your 30 years anniversary and graciously accepts to be the Grand Matron of your endowment fund,’’ she said.
Earlier in her remarks, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Atlantic Hall, Mrs Taiwo Taiwo, said the event was the climax of the institution’s 30th anniversary celebration.
She said building the Nigeria everyone dreams of entailed commitment to the community which should be seen as an obligation.
The event also featured the presentation of awards to some deserving honourees. (NAN)