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One year after PREMIUM TIMES report, Oyo govt moves to tackle child labour

One year after PREMIUM TIMES reported how children struggle for survival in Oyo, Governor Seyi Makinde, has said such parents will soon be jailed after economic palliatives are provided.

Last September, PREMIUM TIMES, in a special report, revealed how children battle for survival in Oyo State.

The report revealed the travails of children between the ages of five-16, peddling vegetables, sachet water, groundnut, soft drinks, slippers, kerosene, bread and other consumables

PREMIUM TIMES report was a reflection of hundreds of children who have been denied access to primary and secondary education in communities visited by our correspondent then in the capital.

The communities are Olodo, Kajola, Iyana Church, Iyana Agbala, Gbagi and Iwo Road where enrolment into primary and junior secondary is in shambles.

Some of these children even experience harassment, sexual abuse and cheating, the report explained.

The previous administration did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES enquiries on the menace of children workers.

The state’s former commissioner for women affairs, children and social welfare, Atinuke Osunkoya, told our correspondent to send a text message.

“Kindly send text message,” she had said at the time.

Weeks after PREMIUM TIMES sent her the text message, she refused to reply or answer subsequent calls put through to her.

One year after

Responding to questions during the celebration of 100 days in office at BCOS, Mr Makinde on Thursday spoke on how his administration will take kids out of the streets.

“On school aged children hawking: there is an existing law which makes basic education mandatory. According to the law, parents of these children should be jailed. However, we recognise that poverty causes this and this makes it difficult to enforce.

“Instead, what we are doing is making sure that basic education is free, which is why we cancelled fees and levies. We are working with the World Bank and the FG through a programme called Better Education Service Delivery For All (BESDA) to attract these children back to school.

“When we’ve done all we can to assist and see that parents are still putting their economic interests over those of their children, then we will enforce the law. I appeal to parents to cooperate and send these children to school,” he said.

LAUTECH

Mr Makinde also spoke about Oyo State taking over Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH). The university is owned by Oyo and Osun states.

Meanwhile, Mr Makinde accused Osun government of delaying workers salaries.

“On LAUTECH: Yesterday, the governing council came to see me and we discussed all these. We’ve signed for worker payments but since it’s owned by both Osun and Oyo states, unfortunately Osun state has not paid. This can not continue.”

“Few days ago, I spoke to the Osun governor, Gboyega Oyetola, the plan to split was signed between (ex governors) Akala and Oyinlola but we don’t know why it wasn’t implemented. Oyo State will have to pay the salary of LAUTECH (Osun’s share) because I don’t want the students to suffer.

“If we have to split up, then so be it, I won’t shy away from this divorce. LAUTECH is very important to Ogbomoso,” he said.

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