Godwin Obaseki, Edo State governor, has said the government will begin to arrest and prosecute parents of out-of-school children as part of efforts to tackle the menace of street begging in the state.
Obaseki said this when he received the Muslim faithful at the Government House, Benin City to celebrate the Eid-El Fitr after the successful completion of the Ramadan, Punch reported.
“We believe that basic education is the right for every child in Edo State; it’s their right and it’s free and compulsory. We will link education with street begging and street children,” he said.
“In the next few weeks or months, we will not allow street begging in the state anymore. We have farm settlements and we need hands and labour to cultivate food. People arrested from where they were begging will be evacuated to the farm settlements to work and if they don’t want to work, they will be sent back to where they come from.
“We just employed 3,062 teachers in the rural communities as they have just finished their training. We will make sure those hard-to-reach areas in the riverine communities will have teachers to teach children. We are training them now to work in those communities.”
Charging the Muslim faithful with tolerance, Obaseki stated, “We all must learn to be tolerant to be able to overcome the economic pressure in the land.
“As a government, we will never deceive our people because the people gave us power through the electoral process to lead them.
“Our administration is working hard to create more jobs and opportunities for the people of the state and ensure that life is better for them. We are also creating a peaceful environment, infrastructure, and security to make the state safe.”
Reassuring that his administration will continue to use resources for the growth and development of the state, Obaseki said, “As a government, we will continue to emphasize that government money is not for few politicians but for the generality of the public, and will not be used for politicians but for the people. We will continue to work for the people of Edo State, not for a few politicians.”
Earlier, Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque, Alhaji Abdulfatai Enabulele, commended the governor for his developmental strides across all sectors of the state, hailing him for his efforts at ending street begging in the state.