Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna state governor, on Thursday, said that some states in Nigeria’s north-west region were as backward as Afghanistan.
Speaking at the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, he said such states were backward in terms of education, health care and opportunities.
El-Rufai said the northern region had major challenges which its leaders have to tackle.
The governor noted that if the challenges were not addressed, the north will continue to pull Nigeria backward.
“Yesterday, the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II, made certain observations about the state of northern Nigeria within the larger Nigeria context,” he said.
“Because the truth of the matter is when you look at human development in the indices of Nigeria, they hide a lot of information. They saw us as middle income country, they saw that we are making progress in terms of education and health care.
“But when you disaggregate this number and look at them from zone to zone, from state to state, it is very revealing. It shows for, instance, that some states in Nigeria are as backward as Afghanistan in terms of education, health care and opportunities. And many of the states in the Northwest are afflicted with these challenges.”
“We have the largest number of out-of-school children, we have the largest number of girls not completing basic education, we have the lowest levels of women giving birth in hospitals and health clinics, we have the highest infant mortality rate and we have the highest maternity mortality and morbidity rate.
“Unless we recognise that and come together and address our common challenges, we will continue to pull Nigeria backward, in my opinion, and that is the last thing we want.”