About 50,000 children may die before the end of 2016 in Nigeria due to poverty, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, has said.

The royal father spoke in Kaduna during a one day dialogue and sensitization meeting with 21 traditional leaders on the current Maternal Health Challenges, especially Maternal Deaths (MPDSR) and Girl Child Education in Northern Nigeria.

The dialogue was organized by the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development with head office in Kaduna.

He said unless Federal Government tackled the problem of poverty, lack of access to education and infrastructure, children in the country would continue to die.

He however,said that as traditional leaders, they would not allow such a catastrophe to occur in their communities.

His words: “It is expected that about 49,000 children will die before the end of the year if nothing is done; how do we sit down and allow 50,000 children die by the end of this year. We cannot sit down and see this catastrophic nightmare happen in our communities?

“The common problems facing us in this country are lack of peace, there is insecurity everywhere, from the north east, to the north central, to the south south, to south east, to south west, there are problems all over the place and what we intend to do is to reach out to everybody and see how we can contribute. Based on our standing in the society, and since people listen to us as traditional leaders, I believe we are best suited to carry this message of peace and development to all nooks and crannies of our great country.

“We must not lose sight of our religious beliefs, we must hold on to our religions very firmly, we must not lose sight of who we are as an ethnic community because, we just don’t throw away how God brought us to the world. All of us must realize this simple fact, that we are all one creation of God Almighty and that is why this foundation is very important, to reach out to everybody and in reaching out to everybody, we bring down the barriers of religion and ethnicity.

“Insecurity, lack of development which has brought about poverty in the country, because of lack of development, due to lack of education, there is poverty in the country, due to lack of education and unemployment, our children are rooming the streets, begging for food, and it is based on this premise, that we are here today, to see how we can come in, so that at the end of this session, we can go back to our various states, brief other traditional rulers on the challenge so that we can proffer solutions on the way forward.

“We are all aware of the misuse of our children by some people and if you had read papers some weeks back, you will see that about 86 children where used for suicide bombing in this country, the children who do not even know what religion is, how, where they were brainwashed. The answer is simple, lack of education, lack of care by the parents and lack of care by the state.

He explained that although they were not the state, but they could speak on problems facing their people because of their close contact with the grassroots.

According to him,long before Nigeria came into being their forefathers have been leading the people and ruling over the present day Nigeria and beyond.

” Let us not shy away from this responsibility God placed on our shoulders. We must build confidence in our people, because, the day we allow our people lose confidence in us and lose trust in us, then we are finished,” he said.

By Hassan Ibrahim, Kaduna

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