By Jethro Ibileke
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo has warned that the State will begin the arrest and prosecution of parents of out-of-school children, as part of efforts to tackle the menace of street begging.
He stated this on Monday, when he received Muslim faithful who were at the Government House, Benin City, to celebrate the Eid-El Fitr after the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.
He warned that children begging on the streets should either go to schools where they could receive free, but compulsory basic education, or they are forced to live and work on farm settlements across the State.
According to him, “We believe that basic education is the right for every Edo child; it’s their right and it’s free and compulsory. We will link education with street begging and street children.
“In the next few weeks or months, we will not allow street begging in Edo anymore. We have farm settlements and we need hands and labour to cultivate foods.
“People arrested from where they are 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 have 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 the children. We are training them now to work in those communities,” he added.
The Governor reassured that his administration will continue to use resources of the state for the growth and development of the state.
He said: “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 life is better for them. We are also creating a peaceful environment, infrastructure and security to make the State safe.”
“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.”
The Governor also charged Muslim faithful on tolerance, to be able to overcome the economic pressure in the land.
Earlier, the 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.
Present at the event were the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Osaigbovo Iyoha and the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Andrew Adaze Emwanta.