Barr. Uchenna Orji on Friday, November 1, 2019, said that plans have been perfected by the Ebonyi State government to return over 50,000 school dropout children back to school.
This is to avert the dangers of school dropouts who grow and become nuisances to the society.
To this effect, Governor David Umahi of the state had earlier challenged development center coordinators to ensure that no child is left behind in the crusade against school drop out in the state.
Orji, Commissioner for Information and State Orientation stated this in Abakaliki during an Advocacy visit to his office by members of Social Mobilization Technical Committee (SOMTEC) on UNICEF programs in the state.
Orji said, “The Governor is doing a lot in the area of returning out-of-school children back to school. We are targeting 50, 000 children for a start.”
“We will make sure that we comb the entire state to bring back to school all the children who have been out of school because of the issue of finance and lack of orientation,” he added.
He said the Ministry of Information is ready to partner the team to ensure that its objectives are achieved for the benefit of the state especially children and women.
“This ministry will work with you actively to ensure that you achieve your objectives. I have no doubt that the Gov. Umahi’s administration is prepared to work with you because this administration has done a lot in the area of social intervention in Ebonyi State and beyond.”
“The state government has done enough in addressing the issue of child abuse, while the programs of Her Excellency, the Wife of the Governor have addressed quite a number of matters including violence against persons and that very law has really tackled a lot of issues, as well as social vices against children and mothers.”
“I don’t need to also tell you what the government is doing to ensure that cultists are meant to repent, and if they don’t, they would be shown the way out of the state. The necessary campaigns have been carried out, and if any of them repents, there is an empowerment program for such a person. These are incentives for cultists who have repented.”
“Advocacy is the key and orientation is very important, if the people are not given orientation, they will be deformed in terms of what they should know. I’m very much prepared to move this ministry to the field to ensure that we assist you and that people are given orientation” he stated.
He promised to give SOMTEC the necessary support in the area of airing their programs.
He said, “But beyond this, we shall be a part of the drive of this advocacy and anytime you call upon us, we will assist you both logistically and being in the field with you and letting the people know the importance of your programs in the state.
On her part, the UNICEF Desk Officer, Ministry of Information, Chineye Azu Udu, pointed out that the purpose of the advocacy was to make the commissioner aware of effort to reactivate the SOMTEC Desk Office in the ministry and to solicit support of the commissioner to carry out more activities which will, in turn, attract recognition from UNICEF.
She appealed for assistance to enable the committee carry out its functions and reach out to more audience through the provision of vehicles for sensitization when needed; and also, to approve the committee’s proposal on nutrition and effects of cultism.
Mrs. Margaret Nworie in her remarks lamented the high rate of drug addicts in the state pointing out that 80% of cultists are under drug influence and called for rapid collaboration among the government, nongovernmental organizations and civil society organizations to educate youths on the dangers of drug abuse.