By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday reassured Lagosians that the State Government would do everything possible to ensure that six pupils of the Government Model College, Igbonla in Epe who were kidnapped in the early hours of Thursday are rescued unhurt and reunited with their parents.
Governor Ambode, who gave the assurance at this year’s Children Day celebration held at the Agege Stadium, said the celebration would not be complete without rescuing those innocent pupils safely and bring them back to school to continue their education.
He said top security arrangement was on course to guarantee their safety, pledging that his government would stop at nothing to ensure that kidnapping and other criminal activities are put to an end in schools.
Represented by his deputy, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, Governor Ambode said that his administration was committed to protecting children in the state from any form of abuse, child labour or molestation by religiously implementing the Child Right Law and the Executive Order on Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, adding that “it was important to protect our children today, so that they can protect us tomorrow.”
The Governor, who said that this year’s Children’s Day celebration was a unique one as the state is equally celebrating the 50thyear anniversary of its creation, called on the children to remain focused, believe in themselves and set target that would make them attain greatness in life, promising that his government will continue to create opportunities and implement policies that would help them to become the best of what they can without any barriers.
“As we celebrate this year’s children’s Day and the 50th anniversary of our state, I want you to believe that you too can achieve greatness. You must believe in yourself and in your dreams. Very soon, it will be your responsibility to take Lagos state to the level that we all desired in the next 50 years. You are agents of change and I urge you, do not just go through life, make a difference, impact life and affect your community , What we are doing today is to lay a solid foundation for you to build on,” he said.
The Governor while reaffirming his administration’s commitment to repositioning public schools to meet world class standard, said that his administration in the last two years had invested heavily in infrastructural and manpower development in public schools, the effort which according to him, is yielding positive results as it has restored confidence in public schools.
“As a government, we recognize our responsibility to create opportunities for you to become the best you can be without any barrier, this is why in the last two years, we have invested massively in the infrastructural and manpower development in our public schools. Our plan which is being realized is to restore public confidence in our public schools,’’ he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Adeshina Odeyemi, noted that the education sector has undergone tremendous transformations since the creation of the state, adding that the number of secondary schools had increased from 55 at the creation of the state in 1967 with a total students population of 19,538 to 679 public secondary schools at present with over 564,758 students population.
Odeyemi noted that in spite of the current global melt down and general economic recession in the country, Lagos State government has continued to run free education policy from primary to secondary schools level and pay for the WAEC fees of its graduating students till date
The Permanent Secretary who noted that the allocation of a huge sum of N205.8 billion to the education sector in the year 2016 and 2017 budget was a confirmation of government‘s genuine commitment to the development of education in the state.
The highlight of the occasion was the cutting of the Children’s day cake by the Deputy Governor with other members of the State Executive Council.