Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, says Nigeria’s current security challenges are consequences of the 1975 coup d’état.
The July 29, 1975 Coup which overthrew Yakubu Gowon, brought Murtala Muhammed to power.
The Minister said this when he featured on Channels Television’s Newsnight on Monday.
According to him, the lead discussant at the town-hall meeting on national security organised by the federal government narrated how the Gowon government was planning to ensure free and compulsory primary education for children of school age.
The minister said the decision was part of efforts to avoid another civil war in the country.
Mohammed said, regrettably, the idea was thrown away after the 1975 coup which sacked Gowon.
He therefore attributed this failure to the cause of the country’s large number of out-of-school children.
According to him, “The fact is that in 1973, we were informed by the lead discussant and that the government of the day then had a retreat.”
Mohammed said the lead discussant added that the government said there must be a national pledge:
“The government of that day came out with a decision that what will prevent another civil war is to ensure that anybody born after January 1970 has free and compulsory primary education.”
“Regrettably that administration was overthrown two years later and all the lofty ideas and all the preparations that were needed to ensure that every child of school age acquired free and compulsory education were jettisoned.
“And we are paying the price today because if you have 13.2 million children of school-age out of school that is the market which Boko Haram, bandits, IPOB and other militants, that is the market where they recruit people.”
The minister said it was consequently resolved at the town-hall meeting that all three levels of government “must ensure that we go back to that and ensure at least free primary education for the first nine years for each child”.