The Bayelsa State Executive Council has threatened to arrest and prosecute any parent who refuses to send his or her child to school to acquire formal education.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said this in a press statement on Wednesday.
According to the statement, the decision came at the end of the signing into law of the Compulsory Primary and Secondary Education Law by the state governor, Seriake Dickson.
Speaking after the 89th State Executive Council meeting, the Commissioner for Education, Jonathan Obuebite, said the assent of the bill ensures that every child of school age must be enrolled into the various model schools of the government.
Mr Obuebite said any child that is seen loitering or hawking on the streets during school hours will be picked up while their parents or guardian will be dealt with as provided in the new law.
He said the move is to stress the importance of education, noting that with the huge investment made in that sector, there is every need to ensure it does not become a waste.
“We have spent over N70 billion building and equipping our schools. Today we have quality infrastructure and facilities across our schools in every local government area. We feel it is important to have this law to protect that investment,” he said.
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant Online Media, Claire Arinze, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday Morning.
According to her, primary and secondary education is free in Bayelsa; therefore parents do not have any rights not to send their wards to school.
She said the government has provided the basic needs for children to be in class even for those who want to be in the boarding school.
“The governor has put a strict rule in place. If a child is picked up during school hour hawking, the parent will be arrested, interrogated and may go to jail.
“Yes, there are processes to follow before the parent will go to jail. The parent is not paying for anything; food, clothings and other basic needs are free for the children going to school,” she said.
Similarly, the Commissioner for Health, Ebitimitula Etebu, said the council expressed delight with the law establishing the School of Midwifery which was also signed into law by Governor Dickson.
According to him, the law will boost primary healthcare delivery in the state.
“The new Primary Health Care Development Board will have the responsibility of coordinating and managing all health facilities that is built in every community,” he said.
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