Abia Government Has Criminalized The Non Enrolment Of School Age Children In The State School System

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Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti has criminalized the non enrolment of school -age Children in the state,

warning of serious penalty for parents and guardians who refuse to bring our their children or wards of school age.

Governor Otti stated this at Umuahia Township Stadium, during the 2024 Children’s Day Celebration with the Theme; “Enhancing the Total Well-being of The Nigerian Child Through Quality Education and Skills Development”.

The governor said that the policy would be supported with a legislation by the State House of Assembly which would prescribe a penalty for offenders.

“From now on it is an offence for any child that is of school age not to be sent to school.

“We are going to back that up with a legislation and that legislation will prescribe penalties for any parent who refuses to bring out his child for Education.

“We also do know that some parents might be financially challenged. The ministry of Education are working out ways to create scholarship that would work, not for the educationally advantaged but for the disadvantaged also”, he stated.

While noting that he is serious minded about protecting the rights of the Abia child, the governor stated that under his administration, no child in the state would be marginalized or molested.

He pointed out that the government voted 20% of the state budget to education and vowed to stop at nothing in ensuring that primary and post primary schools have basic minimum standard including science and technology laboratories, Hostels, teachers quarters, electronic libraries among other modern facilities.

Governor Otti, who said he would continue to prioritize the welfare of children in the state, announced the abolishment of payment of levies for special books for students of the School For The Blind Afaraukwu, donated a bus to them and also directed the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Chaka Chukwumerije to commence a perimeter fencing of the school.

The governor who said he was moved to tears by the plight of the children with special needs announced that the Special Education Center for the Deaf and Mentally Retarded would henceforth be known and addressed as Special Education Center for the Deaf And Mentally Challenged.

He announced the donation of a bus to the school, assuring that government would upgrade and equip the school properly to accommodate a secondary section.

The governor used the opportunity to apologize to Abia children for the poor leadership by past adminstrations where their benefactors were owed months of salaries among other difficulties, assuring that the story would remain different under his administration.

“I want to use this opportunity to apologise to the children of Abia for the bad leadership we have given to you. We are not unaware of the difficulties that you have gone through directly and indirectly.

“When your parents were being owed and your benefactors and people who support you were being owed their pension.

“When the roads were impassable, when everywhere was smelling and very indecent, our schools dilapidated, hospitals became centers of death those were outcomes of bad leadership.

“We want to thank God that the storm is over. But we will not pretend that what happened in the past did not, because we are all witnesses . I want to assure you that from now hence forth the story will remain different”, Otti promised.

In a message, the wife of the Abia state governor, Mrs Priscilia Otti listed interventions by her office aimed at empowering Abia children, reducing out of school children, donation of school supplies among other initiatives requesting the revival of adult education and mass literacy centers in the state to bridge the literacy gap and foster a culture of life long learning.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Blessing Felix noted that the day is set aside to commemorate and cherish the potentials of the children and honour the younger generation who would shape the future.

The Commissioner while pointing out that the present administration is committed to prioritizing the welfare of Abia children, advised parents to provide their children with the needed guidance to thrive in future and support their potential so as to be properly harnessed.