Parents who allow their children to hawk instead of sending them to school would not only be arrested but prosecuted henceforth, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, said on Wednesday.
Mr. Okorocha, who disclosed this in a statement by his chief press secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, also said parents and guardians who for other reasons do not send their children and wards to school will also be sanctioned.
The governor said a law for the implementation of the policy has been passed by the State House of Assembly.
According to Section 30(2C) of Part III of the Child Rights Act of 2003, “A child shall not be used for hawking goods or services on main streets, brothels or highways”.
Subsection 3 of it further states that, “A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection 2 of this Act commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term of 10 years without an option of fine.”
Although this law has been passed at the federal level, it is only effective in states whose assemblies have assented to it.
“Parents and guardians in the State have no reason to keep their children and wards out of School,” the governor noted
He said his free education programme has boosted enrolment in the state from 280,000 in 2011 to more than one million in 2017.
“My greatest gift to Imo people is free education. Today, we have built three more universities, more polytechnics and colleges of education. We shall continue to invest in that direction so that hundreds of thousands of our children always denied admissions every year even when they meet all the requirements can be taken care of.
“Imo State has the education population to fill as many universities as possible.
“It is my desire to have a successor that will sustain free education and not the one that will give excuses. Teachers and heads of schools must continue to be encouraged. They should also fight the use of illicit drugs like Indian hemp in their schools. The quality of education in the state is high,” Mr. Okorocha said.