By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Bamidele Salam has called on the federal government to issue proclamations for the immediate enforcement of free and compulsory education for all children in the country.
Salam who represents Ede North, Ede South, Egbedore, and Ejigbo federal constituency of Osun State said free and compulsory education of Nigerian children will be the only way of securing the future of the country against poverty and insecurity currently ravaging Africa’s most populous country.
The federal lawmaker who stated this on Wednesday in a statement issued to commemorate the occasion of the Children’s Day, said it was regrettable that in spite of the clear provisions of Chapter 2 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution and Section 15 of the Child Rights Act 2003, millions of Nigerian children are daily flocking the streets begging alms, hawking goods and engaging in other demeaning activities during school hours.
He maintained that, Child Rights Act provides that ‘Every child has the right to free, compulsory and universal basic education and it shall be the duty of the Government in Nigeria to provide such education’, but the provision has not been adhered to by State actors whose responsibility is to ensure that they do not remain mere rhetoric on paper.
Salam noted that since the primary duty of every government is to ensure the welfare and security of citizens, it is of utmost importance that children, being a vulnerable segment of the society be given utmost care and attention in order to secure them from the future consequences of lack of education.
While indicating that he and 29 other federal lawmakers have pioneered a parliamentary group on Out of School Children, Salam said the group is meant to offer legislative and advocacy support for the initiative of the 9th House of Representatives to fast track the return of over 13 million Nigerian Children to the classrooms.
He explained that the parliamentary group will engage with governments, civil society organizations and the private sector to ensure that deliberate, sustainable and measurable policies and programmes are implemented to drastically reduce the menace of out of school children in the next 5 years.
Salam therefore urged Parents, teachers and other stakeholders to work together with government agencies in providing children with greater access to educational opportunities that will develop their potential as future wealth creators.