Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has restated the readiness of his administration to collaborate with the Federal Government and other relevant agencies on initiatives aimed at ensuring child protection in the state.
The Governor, who stated this in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government on “At Risk Children Initiative”, disclosed that the state recorded about 20,000 increase in primary school enrolment between 2018 and 2020 aside the increase recorded in secondary schools.
The main thrust of the initiative is to support children all over the country, build their capacity and ensure that the communities keep an eye on them by respecting their rights and providing them with adequate security.
The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, signed the MOU on behalf of the government, While Mrs Mariam Uwais, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, signed on behalf of the Federal Government at the event which was attended by the First Lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Biodun Oyebanji, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr Adebimpe Aderiye and Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Alhaja Mariam Ogunlayi.
Governor Fayemi, who reiterated that good livelihood of children and young girls remain the priority of his administration added that the State is also battling with some challenges on child education as drop-out rate is high in the rural communities.
The Governor said his administration, in its effort to leave no one behind, would continue to ensure free and compulsory education for all residents of Ekiti in order to build better, more equal and prosperous society.
“It is really an opportunity for us to take this initiative further, because working with children is not new for us in Ekiti and working with our young girls is a priority for this government as we have always had a coordinated inter-ministerial approach to this issue which is also what is being furthered by the conceptualization and future implementation of this programme.
“That is why we have the Office of Wife of Governor that is critical to the implementation of this type of initiative and that is why I am particularly personally interested in this initiative.
“I know that just as Wife of Governor has said, we may not be in the top echelon of states that have children out of school, but we still have our own issues in relation to drop out rate, and children out of school particularly in our rural communities.
“We also have our challenges with children with disability which we will critically address in the course of this initiative and I believe it will also assist us in strengthening our various institutions essential to the implementation of this programme – our social welfare, our early child education programme, our supports to farmsteads and our agricultural belt where many of our migrant communities are located in Ekiti and are affected by this immediate challenge that we want to tackle.
“I think it also speaks to the philosophy of our government, if we have free and compulsory education right up to senior secondary school level, it is not just enough to leave it in the hands of those who voluntarily come to school, it is also a duty for us to seek out those who are not voluntarily responding to our free education, that is the compulsory part of our free and compulsory education. And this initiative will enable us to even do more.
In her comments, the Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi disclosed that the initiative was a very exciting one aimed at ensuring that something was done about the millions of children who are out of schools across the country.
Erelu Fayemi noted that even though Ekiti was one of the few states that enjoyed significant level of educational uptake said the state still shared in the burden of out of school children like every other states.
She explained further that the initiative was meant to ensure that strategies were put in place to address the needs of these children to enable them engage in productive endeavours that will make them reliable members of the society in the spirit of live no one behind.
Presenting the project to the Governor, Hajia Mariam Uwais said the main thrust of the initiative was to support children all over the country to build their capacity and to ensure that the communities keep an eye on the children by giving them their rights and providing them with adequate security.