Child Labor :Fayose Suspends Teachers
Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose on Friday ordered the suspension of some teachers of Elo High School, Ayetoro Ekiti(Ido/Osi LGA of Ekiti State) who were caught in the farm engaging some students of the school in child labor.
Mr Fayose gave the order after he had listened to the students narrate their ordeal in the hands of the teachers.
The governor who said he acted after he got distress calls from some parents of the pupils of Elo High school that their wards were being used for child labor expressed shock that acts like that still exists.
“I got distress calls from some parents of pupils of Elo High School that their wards are being used by teachers for child labor, I didn’t believe but at some point the pressure kept coming so I decided to send the commissioner for education and the commissioner having found out that the claims were true invited the deputy governor and they went to the farm, they met the pupils working in the farm and I directed they bring the pupils to me”, the governor said.
A corp member(name withheld) who was posted to the school in May 2015 also corroborated the parents’ claims. She said, “We resumed in June and we (corpers) wondered why the school was like that, we were surprised at why students go to farm everyday, it was more of a farming place, even when we are teaching, they do come to call some students for use in the farm, when you tell them what you are teaching is important and all that, they will still insist that they go to the farm.
“During exams, they will have to first go to the farm before they come and sit for their papers, that was the situation till the arrival of this new principal in January 2016”.
Governor Fayose who was displeased by the teachers’ action refused to listen to their pleas as he directed the commissioner for education, Hon. Jide Egunjobi to set up a panel of inquiry while the teachers involved including the vice principal, Mr. Oni S O whom the chastised for allowing such illegality under his watch are to be on suspension till the panel’s report is ready. The governor also ordered the immediate transfer of up to 80% of the staff of the school
“You are the vice principal of the school, it is your responsibility to protect this wards against oppression, against being used as slaves in this 21st century, any teacher found in this attitude, using our students for farming gains will have to face the music, such persons will be shown the way out of the teaching profession, it is amazing, I am shocked”, the governor said.
A J S S 3 student of the school who spoke with journalists narrated how farming activities had taken over academics in his school, his words: “The teachers usually tell us to drop our bags as soon as we get to school in the morning, to come and help him or her on their farmland and when we get there, it may take up to 30 minutes to do the work, and after doing it, another teacher can call us to come and help them do another work and we can’t say no because if you say no, you will be flogged or punished.
“Like yesterday when the commissioner came to the school, I have worked thrice at different places, we were told to make heaps, like 70 heaps per person all over the school and then I later went to Mrs. Onibon’s farm to cut grass, then to Mr. Awopetu’s farm to make heaps, I can’t ignore his request, so I helped him to do it”, the thirteen year old submitted.
His story was corroborated by another J S S 2 student.
Warning that anyone who tries to harass or intimidate the students will face criminal prosecution for such action, governor Ayodele Fayose directed that the students be adequately protected by relevant authorities.