Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Tuesday expressed regret at the estimated 250,000 out-of-school children in the state, saying the figure was worrisome and alarming.
He urged parents, traditional rulers and community leaders to join hands with the government to reverse the trend.
Mr Diri spoke during the inauguration of a national campaign on out-of-school children organised by the Federal Ministry of Education.
The governor said his administration would do its part to ensure that education was accessible to every child of school age in Bayelsa and urged parents and community leaders to ensure they enrolled their children and wards in schools.
He said the Bayelsa government supported free primary and secondary education by purchasing uniforms and instructional materials.
Lamenting the number of out-of-school children in the state despite an existing law, Mr Diri urged relevant ministries to ensure that the law was publicised and implemented to the letter.
He also called on the Bayelsa House of Assembly to rise to its oversight role on laws to ensure they are implemented.
Mr Diri commended the Federal Ministry of Education for taking the campaign to Bayelsa, saying the people of the state and the Niger Delta region would benefit from the initiative.
“A law was passed by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on this matter in 2018. Bayelsa state has started addressing the issue long before now. The campaign by the Federal Government is a key that has opened our eyes to the level of out-of-school children in our state,” the governor explained.
He added, “The issue is mostly about implementation. We have laws to ensure that our children are educated. This law has to be implemented across all our communities. The ministries of information and education must do all within their powers to ensure that the public is aware of this law and it is implemented.”
The governor also said it was unbelievable that a law on school enrolment was in place and Bayelsa still has thousands of out-of-school children.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on parents to ensure that they take advantage of the provisions of the government. There is free primary education. Uniforms and other instructional materials are provided by the government,” stated Mr Diri.