THE Bayelsa State Executive Council says parents who refuse to send their children to school to acquire formal education will be prosecuted and jailed.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson.
The decision followed the signing into law of the Compulsory Primary and Secondary Education Bill by the state governor, Seriake Dickson.
Speaking after the 89th State Executive Council meeting, the Commissioner for Education, Jonathan Obuebite, said the assent to the bill ensures that every child of school age must be enrolled into the various government model schools.
Mr Obuebite said any child that is seen loitering or hawking on the streets during school hours would be picked up and their parents or guardians dealt with as provided in the new law.
The move, he explained, is meant to stress the importance of education, noting that efforts must be put in place to ensure that the huge investment made in the sector does not become a waste.
“We have spent over N70 billion building and equipping our schools. Today, we have quality infrastructure and facilities across our schools in every local government area. We feel it is important to have this law to protect that investment,” he said.
The Senior Special Assistant Online Media, Claire Arinze, said that primary and secondary education is free in Bayelsa; therefore, parents do not have any rights not to send their wards to school.
She said the government had provided the basic needs for children to be in class, even for those who want to be in the boarding school.
“The governor has put a strict rule in place. If a child is picked up during school hours hawking, the parent will be arrested, interrogated and may go to jail.”