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Girls in Nigeria need education

WHILE a co-ordinated response to Boko Haram extremists is imperative (DebateNI, May 26), more must be done inside Nigeria to address poverty and inequality. That includes the undervaluation of education – particularly for girls.

Some 800 classrooms and 200 schools in Borno and Yobe states, in the north of the country, have been destroyed by Boko Haram since 2013; and, since February last year, more than 15,000 children have stopped attending class in Borno state alone.

It is dispiriting that the government's response to these horrendous attacks on schools has been to allow them to stay closed.

Nigeria is home to more than 10 million of the 57 million children out of school globally and this number is rising. The majority of these children are girls and most are in northern Nigeria.

Of those who do enrol, fewer than two-thirds complete primary school and even fewer begin, let alone complete, secondary school.

ActionAid has seen successes in our work in the region to make the case for girls' education. But what is needed is investment.

The Nigerian government invests less in education than almost any other country in Africa. We must not only bring the abducted girls home. We must invest in and keep their schools open.

DR HUSSAINI ADBU

ActionAid Nigeria country director

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