Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has vowed to prosecute parents, guardians of out-of-school children in the state with effect from the beginning of the new school calendar.
The new school calendar in Edo begins on 12 September.
“Any child found loitering or hawking during school hours will be arrested and the parents or guardians will be prosecuted,” said Mr Obaseki.
Mr Obaseki stated this on Monday in Benin City while addressing reporters.
Edo ranked among states with high rate of out-of-school children.
Data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics and published by this newspaper last year ranked Edo 17th nationally, and third after Rivers and Bayelsa in the South-south among states with the highest number of out-of-school children.
More so, there are several schools in the state where pupils and students sit on the bare floor to learn.
Governor Obaseki said he would reverse the trend by committing more “resources to ensure no child sits on the ground.”
“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.”
Mr Obaseki said the state government has provided special courts to prosecute any person involved in sexual or physical abuse of school children.
The governor said parents who allowed their underage (below 18 years) children to be used for manual labour would also be prosecuted.
The governor said adequate measures have been put in place to ensure the enforcement of the directives.
He said he would send a special squad to monitor schools across the state to ensure teaching commences the same day school resumes.
“I will also monitor the schools myself, alongside with the Commissioner of Education,” Mr Obaseki said.
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