80% Of Women In North Are Illiterates – Emir Sanusi

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Eighty per cent of women in eight Northern are illiterates, unable to read and write, while 70.8 per cent of women in the North West illiterates compared to 9.7 of their counterparts from the South-East are iliterates, Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said.
Sanusi who quoted a research, expressed this while speaking at the 3rd commemoration lecture in honour of abducted Chibok Girls in Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on Friday.
“Over 70.8% of women in North-West are unable to read and write compared to 9.7% in the South-East zone; More than 2/3 of 15-19 year old girls in the North are unable read a single sentence compared to less than 10% in the South; In 8 northern states, over 80% of the women are unable to read and write. Only 4% of females complete Secondary schools in Northern Nigeria.
“78% of adolescent girls are in marriages in the North West, 68% in the North East and 35% in the North-Central-these numbers clearly mirroring the poorest regions in the country. The statistics in the other zones are 18% in SS, 17% in the SW and 10% in the SE,” Emir Sanusi who was represented by his daughter, Shahida Sanusi said.
The Emir said that apart from the huge loss of productivity and incomes caused by the lack of focus in education, especially for girls, adolescent marriages have led to serious social and health outcomes.
“One Nigerian woman dies in childbirth every 10 minutes. The NE zone has maternal mortality rate of over 1,500 per 100,000. This is more than five times the global average. I can go on and on.
In the speech titled: CHIBOK AND THE MIRROR IN OUR FACES: SOME REFLECTIONS ON GENDER IN OUR SOCIETY, he slammed elites in the North for their phobia for statistics.
“Our colleagues and compatriots among the elite do not like statistics. Numbers are disturbing. I recently gave a speech in which I said the North-East and North-West of Nigeria are the poorest parts of the country. This simple statement of fact has generated so much heat the noise is yet to die down. But what really are the facts?
“The oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the UNDP in 2015 published data on the incidence of poverty in Nigeria showing that, on average, 46% of Nigerians are living in poverty. This is based on the UN’s Global Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index which focuses on Education, Health and Living Standards. Although this average is in itself bad, it masks even more serious internal inequalities and incidences of extreme poverty by region and gender. So for example the South-West of Nigeria has less than 20% of its population living in poverty while the North-West has more that 80% of its population living in poverty. In the North-East the figure is 76.8%. Over 90% of the people in Yobe and Zamfara States are living in poverty compared to 8.5% in Lagos and around 11% in Osun and Anambra states,” he pointed out.
He said that the response to his speech has been a barrage of personal attacks and insults aimed at silencing any voices that dare shine the light on the society to which we are saying Bring Back our Girls.
“There are those who believe these attacks are aimed at discrediting me personally but even if that is the objective it will not work. I can only be discredited by what I have done and not by insults and lies on the Social-media. And in any event, personal criticism has no impact on the issues.
“These attacks are aimed at diverting attention from the issues raised and all of us who are involved in this struggle must remember a few things. We are dealing with an anti-intellectual environment, and with people whose failure has bred a sense of insecurity which leads to incomprehensible, almost insane, reactions to simple advice.
“Secondly, that these problems are deep-seated and have been there for a long time so changing mind-sets will be a difficult and painful process. Finally we must never succumb to the temptation to join our opponents in the gutter. You may say what you like about me for as long as you like, so long as you address the issues. As Michelle Obama famously said: “when they go low, we go high”.

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