Ekiti State Government has ordered a full scale investigation into the activities of some teachers who use their students as child labourers in their private farms during school hours.
In the meantime, no fewer than 16 of such teachers at Elo High School, Ayetoro-Ekiti have been suspended pending the outcome of investigation of the matter.
The State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, gave the directives in Ado-Ekiti while receiving the report of a team led by the Deputy Governor, Dr Kolapo Olusola, that went to the school for a preliminary investigation of the incident.
In a statement on Sunday by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, the action of the governor followed persistent complaints by concerned parents that their wards were being used as child labourers in private farms during school hours.
Governor Fayose added that the probe of activities of teachers in the school be extended to 2012.
Some of the affected students, who were brought to the Government House, Ado-Ekiti, said under the guise of doing practical agriculture, their teachers do take them to their private farms at least twice a week during official hours to work for at least 30 minutes.
One of them, Oluyeye Femi, a JSS 111 student, said though the school has a farm where students are expected to work once a week, some teachers capitalise on that to take them to their private farms to weed and make heaps.
A member of the National Youth Service Corps posted to the school, Miss Giredana Enogha, said when she got to the school last June, the situation was like a farm settlement.
She added that students were not encouraged to do any other thing than to go to farm all day.
A visibly angry Governor Fayose ordered that at least 80 percent of the teachers be transferred from that school.
“This is sheer slavery. The teachers mentioned must be suspended immediately. The principal, who just got there two months ago, is exempted, but the former principal, who has been posted to somewhere in Ilasa-Ekiti must be investigated as well. Those that have taught in the school since 2012 must be investigated
“Any teacher who uses students as farming slaves will have himself to blame. That is slavery and that I will tackle. After a distress call from a concerned parent that their children are being used for child labour, I directed the commissioner and the deputy governor to investigate. Pupils are taken to farms under the guise of doing agricultural practical. Those indicted will not go unpunished. This is not nice and it is uncalled for,” he said.
The governor wondered why some people would want government’s investment in the education sector to go in vain by sabotaging it overtly or covertly.