By Hillary Asemota
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the government will kick off the arrest and prosecution of parents and guardians of out-of-school children from the next academic session, which begins on Monday, September 12.
Obaseki, who spoke to journalists in Benin City ahead of the September 12th, 2022 resumption of the new school calendar year, said all machinery has been put in place for the enforcement.
He said the government, in partnership with the state’s judiciary, has set up special courts to prosecute perpetrators of sexual and physical abuses against children in schools in the state.
The governor said his administration is committed to guaranteeing the care, protection and wellbeing of every Edo child.
He said, “If we find any child under the age of 18 years being used for manual labour, such parents will be prosecuted. We thank the Chief Judge for providing special courts which will be used to prosecute any offender who perpetrates violence against any child or involves in sexual defilement or physical abuse in our school system.
“From September 12, when school resumes, any child found loitering or hawking during school hours will be arrested and the parents or guardians will be prosecuted and seriously dealt with. We have specially trained people to observe and watch over our children to ensure no child is abused in Edo State.”
“School resumes on Monday, September 12, 2022 and teaching must commence the same day. I will send out a special squad to monitor schools across the State; I will also monitor the schools myself, alongside with the Commissioner of Education,” the governor added.
Harping on the infrastructure development in schools across the state, Obaseki said, “I have instructed the Ministry of Education to demolish all dilapidated buildings in our schools. For those schools really dilapidated, we will move the students to other schools and rebuild the schools.
“We will emphasize the environment our children learn as we need to secure the environment where our children learn. We will be spending a lot of resources to ensure no child seats on the ground to learn. By the time the Commissioner of Education will be completing her term, no Edo child should sit on the ground to learn.”
“Commencing from September 12 when the new school calendar will start, I have also directed the Ministry of Education to set up a cleanup system to clean all Edo Schools.”