About Osun Defender

The Boy Calls You Father

By Olowogboyega Oyebade Have you ever written a eulogy? Do you know that it is a way of saying farewell to someone who has died? Do you know that it is an onerous assignment to do something at the very moment when nothing can be done, the attempt to define the outlines of a life…”
Yusuf
June 14, 2020 4:08 pm

By Olowogboyega Oyebade

Have you ever written a eulogy? Do you know that it is a way of saying farewell to someone who has died? Do you know that it is an onerous assignment to do something at the very moment when nothing can be done, the attempt to define the outlines of a life of a dear one? Do you know that finding appropriate words to say can be difficult, a very heavy burden of responsibility to get it ‘right’ particularly when the moon of age of the dead is just half-full? Do you know that this is the situation now in the mind of the Civil Service of this State as we mourn the depart of BaristerAdejare Adebisi, the Deputy Chief of Staff, General Administration?

Do you know that this man, who death snatched away,  was described by Governor Oyetola as very loyal and committed? Do you know that he was a rare loyal party man who could weather any storm without winking? Do you know that this man snatched away by death was the son of a civil servant, worked briefly as a civil servant, joined mainstream politics of the progressives and strenuously gravitate with others, to build a party of beauty, pride and culture as we have in the ruling party at the State and Federal levels? Are you aware that once in his trajectory, his party lost power to one of the present opposition parties? Do you know that he never stooped low to pick crumps from the inviting juicy tables of the party in power, like most others of his age did? Do you know that he damned the treacherous ways of whosoever wanted to woo him to the opposition with the strength of of progressive characters in him and never bowed before their mighty ‘Baal’ in the shrine of ill-gotten wealth?  

Do you know that despite the limitation of his frames as a result of an attack of ailment, his sense of industry and commitment to duty never failed until he breathed his last? Do you know that despite his very busy schedules, despite his possession of Masters of Laws of the great Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, he was never tired of knowledge as he was an active  Ph.D research candidate in Law in another University at the time of his death? Such was his industry! Such was his love for knowledge?  Such was his love for people. Now, what can we do than to condole with our Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the State Executive Council, the people of IrepodunLocal Goverenment and his family on this huge loss? Do you know that today is our chance to say thank you for the way you brightened our lives? Barister AdejareAdebisi, do you know that we are all despaired at our loss over you and only the strength of your service and character of not relenting will give us the strength to move forward as your colleagues and friends? The voice of Ralph Waldo Emerson in “All Return Again” cuts in:

It is the secret of the world

that all things subsist and do not die,

but only retire a little from sight

and afterwards return again.

Nothing is dead;

men feign themselves dead,

and endure mock funerals

and mournful obituaries,

and there they stand looking out of the window,

sound and well, in some new strange disguise….”

Have you read Things Fall Apart authored by Chinua  Achebe? Do you know that it is the debut novel of the author and first published in 1958 to tell the story of pre-colonial life in the Southeastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of Europeans during the late 19th century?  Do you know that the hero of the novel is Okonkwo, a local wrestling champion of the clan of Umuofia? Are you aware that  Okonkwo is famous for defeating a wrestler nicknamed “Amalinze The Cat” (a wrestler who never lands on his back)?  Despite his strength of character and industry, do you know that he has an albatross as a moral burden, namely:  his own father, Unoka with unpaid arrears of  debts, abandonment of wife and children  and a reflex to be afraid of and displayed cowardice at the sight of blood?

Can you believe that his father, Unoka was a terror to the neighbours, a torturer to the family and a liability  to the community who eventually died a shameful death? Do you know that these are the burdens Okonkwo lives for with singular mind to dispel to build wealth entirely on his own, to take care of family members and neighbours and to be a rare blessing to the community? Do you know that Okonkwo’s drive to shift attention from the liability of his father propelled him to heroism in wealth, power and influence in his community?

Have you heard of Ikemefuna before, a character in “Things Fall Apart”? Do you know that Ikemefuna is a boy taken by the clan as a peace deal between Umuofiaand Mbaino after Ikemefuna’s father killed an Umuofian woman?  Do you know that Okonkwo is selected by the elders to be the guardian of Ikemefuna? Do you know that , the boy lives with Okonkwo’sfamily and Okonkwo is  fond of him and the boy, too,  sees him as a second father?  Do you know that Nwoye and Ikemefuna are best of friends spending all their time together like brothers?  Do you know that in the evenings, they sit like buddies with Okonkwo in his hut and listen to his stories of wars, conquests, violence and bloodshed?. Do you know that Okonkwo is inwardly pleased as Nwoye grows more tough and manly, and he credits the change to Ikemefuna’s good influence on him?  Have you ever tasted locust? Do you know that as devastating as it can be on the farm, locusts can still be a tasty delicacy? Do you know that one day while Okonkwo and his sons are working on the construction of the walls of the compound, a great black cloud descends upon the town, signifying the  coming of the locusts, a great delicacy in Umuofia?  Do you know that Okonkwo’s family partakes in the harvest of the locust….. catching  them for roasting, drying, and eating? Can you believe that as Okonkwo, Nwoye, and Ikemefuna are happily eating the rare food, a stranger saunters in, Ogbuefi Ezeudu, the oldest man of the village?

Alas! Do you know that the Oracle of Umuofia has whispered something to him?  Have you read the writing of Luciano Canfora while describing the burning of the Library of Alexandria  by Alexander the Great,  Eliot saying: “when an old man dies in Africa, it is like a huge library set ablaze”? True to this aphorism, do you know that Ogbuefi Ezeudu is one of the elders of Umuofia, regarded as very wise and gives Okonkwo needed pieces of advice?  Do you know that he is the one who brings Okonkwo the message from the Oracle that Ikemefuna should be sacrificed but  also warns Okonkwo not to participate in the boy’s execution, since Ikemefuna calls Okonkwo “father”?  The voice of Ogbuefi Ezeudu cuts in:

“That boy calls you father,

Bear no hand in his death.”

Are you aware that later, Okonkwo tells Ikemefuna that he is going home to Mbaino, but the boy does not believe him?  Do you know that as soon as Nwoyehears that his friend is leaving, he bursts into tears and is beaten by his father? Do you know that the next day, Okonkwo wakes up Ikemefuna, asks him to dress up for his dream journey back to his natural parents? How glad he is? Do you know that many men of Umuofiaaccompany Ikemefuna to the outskirts of the village and into the forest?  Do you know that Okonkwo is walking near him, a reassurance to Ikemefuna to lose his fear and thinks about his family in Mbaino?  As they trudge on, do you know that Okonkwo begins to drop to the rear of the group, thus making Ikemefuna to be trepid with fear? Alas! Can you believe that as the boy’s back is turned, one of the men strikes the first blow with his machete, inflicts a deep cut    that makes  Ikemefuna to cry out to Okonkwo:

“My father, they have killed me!”

Do you know that he runs towards Okonkwo for safety?. Can you believe that as Okonkwo is afraid to appear weak, Okonkwo raises his machete up and deals a killing blow on Ikemefuna? Do you know that as soon as Okonkwo realizes that the boy is just half-dead, he reaches out to his body and strikes the killing blow with his machete? Do you know that for many days after killing Ikemefuna, Okonkwo feels guilty and saddened?  Can you believe that shortly after Ikemefuna’s death, things begin to go wrong for Okonkwo?  Can you believe that he becomes traumatized? Do you know that his sickly daughter Ezinma falls unexpectedly ill and it is feared she may die?  Do you know that during the traditional gun-salute at Ezeudu’s funeral, Okonkwo’s gun accidentally explodes and kills Ezeudu’s son? Can you believe that Okonkwo and his entire family are banished into exile for seven years to appease the gods he has offended?  Do you know that our President is the Okonkwo who is trying to build a new nation from the ashes of the old? Do you know that the workers of Nigeria are personified by Ikemefuna? Do you know that OronsayeReport is Ogbuefi Ezeudu and the elders of Umofia are the people that are likely to be selected to implement the Oronsaye’s Report? Have you read the President’s speech delivered on “Democracy Day”? Do you know that another Ikemefuna is born and may be sacrificed if help does not come handy?

Do you know that we have enough reasons to celebrate 21 years of uninterrupted civil administration in our dear country? Do you know that this administratioin has performed and the Civil Service is part of the anchors of the various achievements of this administration?   Do you know that despite this COIVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s GDP growth is still at 1.87% in the first quarter  of 2020? Do you know that as at May 2020, our external reserves has grown from $33.42 billion as posted on 28th April, 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments? Do you know that the pride of place this President gives to the Civil Service results in the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme reviving 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain? Do you know that the CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund created and supervised by the Civil Servants in the Central Bank has been a blessing to the cotton, textile and garment sector and economy is receiving a boost? Do you know that Nigerians are now growing what we eat and eating what we grow, courtesy of the workers of the Civil Service campaigning for such in the media and working in Customs and Excise Department ?  

Have you not seen how revenues from Tax have improved during this administration?  Shall we not praise the civil servants doing the duties and the magic? Are you aware that 30,289 agro-rangers recruited into para-military agencies by President Buhari to protect  farming investments are the new game-changing ace to secure food security for the nation and they are giving good accounts of themselves? Do you know that the 131st position from 146th on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking Nigeria now attains is  the product of the efforts of the civil servants in the Ministries  of Land, Commerce, Finance, Planning and Budget and other agencies of Government dealing with the business world? Do you know that the emerging resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing is anchored on the workers of the Ministry of Justice, Finance and their sister agencies?

Are you aware that the emerging digitalization of the mineral rights management platform for quick processing of mineral rights application, digitization of records and plugging revenue leakages must be anchored on the workers of the agencies that will work on these?  Can you believe that the present conduct of bidding process for 57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue and increase the participation of Nigerian companies in oil and exploration and production business can only succeed if the workers working on the matter are well briefed, courted with love and patriotism before they can deliver? Do you know that this administration is executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme in the power sector and Nigeria’s agreement with Siemens to transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023 can only be feasible if well monitored by well-motivated civil servants?  Do you know that the transportation sector that is receiving a boost in road construction, rehabilitation of airports, railway and the concessioning of Bonny Deep Sea Port can only amount to much and be impactful if the present administration makes sure that the vision of the government is well declared and the Civil Service is allowed to key into monitoring it to fruition?

Are you aware that the country has keyed into digital economy by increasing the level of 4G coverage by 30%? Do you know that 5G technology is in the pipe-line?  Do you know that Mr President is dreaming of Artificial Intelligence and Robotism to make our cities smart?  Do you know that the civil servants in Research Centres and Universities must be drawn closer to government now to deliver on this mandate? Do you know that the  enforcement of free and compulsory basic education for the first 9 years of schooling which is still progressing in the country cannot amount to much if teachers are not carried along or they are not well trained to key into the new knowledge economy?  Of what use will additional 6 Federal Science and Technical Colleges now established under Better Education Service Delivery for All be when teachers are not well-kitted for the assignments in these institutions? Of what use will the delivery of 1,200 housing units or provision of 520 service plots with infrastructure by the thisadministration be if they are not allocated to poor workers who are daily toiling?

Do you know that water supply, irrigation and dam facilities are expanding to boost agriculture and health of the people because Mr President is worker-friendly? Do you know that the new initiative of agric-business is perfectly in order for all civil servants to be fully involved in agriculture? Do you know that in order to promote health, the Executive Order 009 on Ending Open Defecation in Nigeria has been signed and it relies on the capacity of Environmental Health Officers to do the implementation to put our country in better position of sanitation? Do you know that the commitment of this  administration to plant 25 million trees in line with the resolution of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2019 on climate change is a joint task of the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Information? Can you imagine the monumental efforts of the present administration to ensure security to protect our national infrastructure including on-shore and off-shore oil  installations, secure our territorial waters and end piracy in the Gulf of Guinea? Do you know that our brother soldiers of all colours in the Civil Service are the magicians doing the job and at times paying supreme sacrifices with their lives in the service of the nation?

Can you see the armed wing of the Civil Service in Police duties or Correctional Service or Civil Defence, slugging it out with characters of easy virtues to guarantee internal security in our land? What of the civil servants in the National Command and Control Centre and  the National Public Security Communication System or in the government-owned media stations?  Do you know that we have to appreciate them for working with patriotism to guarantee peace in our country? Do you know that the idea of Community Policing Strategy is to get more men and more materials to maintain effective internal security mechanism and its success depends on the capacity of its administrators?  Do you know that this administration closed our international borders to stem down  inflow of small arms and drugs and illegal food items into the country since August 20th 2019 till date? Do you know that the civil servants on this beat are the ones that made the achievements possible?  Do you know that 549,500 N-Power beneficiaries, 408,682 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and 2,238,334 beneficiaries of the Growth Enhancement and Empowerment Programme are rejoicing under the Social Investment Programme of this government? Do you know that the civil servants played prominent parts?  Do you know that the  “Marketmoni” and “TradermoniProgrammescontinue to provide affordable loans to small and micro scale enterprises to grow their businesses?  Do you know that  Under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, over 9,963,729 children are being fed to keep them in school and improve their nutritional status? Are you aware that civil servants are the ones supervising these laudable programmes and popularising this administration?

Are you aware that this administration is strongly concerned about the health of the people as demonstrated by its capacity to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic? Imagine that the government has money but no doctors, nurses, virologists and Pharmacists?  Will the campaign be smooth as we are having it? Do you know that the Federal Government puts in place a number of various non-pharmaceutical measures to slow down the spread of the virus?  Do you know that the civil servants played prominent parts in all these laudable initiatives? Are you aware that as part of the strategy to create jobs to reduce the effect of COVID-19 on our youths, the President has directed the employment of 774, 000 Nigerians in Special Public Works Programme, that is, each of the 774 local government areas in the country will be allotted 1,000 slots? Do you know that this directive will be implemented by the civil servants?

       Have you heard the news as Mr President is calling on inventors and researchers to rise to the challenge of saving us from the pandemic? Do you know that this is a clarion call on all the organised workers to bring their ingenuity to bear at this crucial time? Do you know that all workers of the Anti-Corruption agencies are civil servants and it is a pride to the nation that they have secured more than 1,400 convictions and also recovered funds in excess of N800 billion? Do you know that the digital switch-over is enough good news and it has been achieved through the workers in the Ministry of Communication? Do you know that the Executive Order 10 that gives autonomy to the judiciary and the Houses of Assembly cannot implement itself but is to be implemented by the Civil Service?  Do you know that workers of the Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Ministry of Justice will have to collaborate to give the law the dentition it requires? Can you now see that workers and government are essential partners to strengthen democracy in a polity?  

And now the area of caution! Are you aware that in the address of the President during the celebration of “Democracy Day”, we were told that in the face of dwindling resources and rising cost of governance, the White Paper on the Rationalisation of Government Parastatals and Agencies has been approved for implementation? Do you know that Mr President must be vigilant lest some fifth columnists will hide under that cloak to be retrenching workers at this crucial time? Do you know that Oronsaye and his report are like Oguefi Ezeudu who comes around to remind Okonkwo, the President,  that it is time to sacrifice Ikemefuna? Do you know that, like Okonkwo of the old, the President has bailed the country from the fiscal and moral deficit of the past administration in the country? Do you know that, like the Okonkwo of the old, he has created a niche of integrity in the sub-region of Africa and the world to earn the accolades of an “Nwalimu”, the great teacher? Do you know that any form of retrenchment will make his white banner to have a stain? , Do I hear somebody suggesting that if the issue of mounting salaries is the problem, why are we not employing Hassan Sumonu’s Initiative at the Federal level? What is Hassan Sumonu’s Initiative? You care to know?  Come along. The voice of OgbuefiEzeudu cuts in again:

“That boy calls you father,

Bear no hand in his death.”

Do you know that COVID-19 is defining everything about us? Have you heard the news published on 5th June, 2020 by Dr. Tunji Ogunyemi, a government  policy expert that 32 States may find it difficult to pay salary after COVID-19? Do you know that  he hinted that there is a possibility of a further downward review of the already reviewed Federal Government’s budget, going by recent happenings globally?  Do you know that the economic historian-cum-lawyer, and who is also the acting Head, Department of History, Faculty of Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, urged the Osun State Government to meet Labourleaders to revisit the Comrade Hassan Sunmonu-led committee’s template, saying the State would be negatively impacted by the global economic downturn occasioned by Covid-19? The voice of Ogunyemi, who spoke on a popular radio programme:  ‘Frank Talk’, in Osogbo, cuts in:

“The Federal Government can deliberately create money by printing more money that may not be backed by productivity, to pay its workers. But no State can do that. Already, states are cutting their budgets significantly because of the drop in the federal allocation. What they will be sharing in June is half of what they shared in January. Only about four States can manage to survive marginally. The opportunity the civil servants have now is that no State can say go home, I am not paying. But States can decide to pay slashed salaries because one cannot appropriate and reprobate at the same time. So, the State can only pay from what it has. If it has nothing, what will it pay? We are in dire straits. Some States such as Kaduna, Delta, Plateau, Taraba, Gombe, among others are slashing salaries….Osun also has a background of owing a significant debt both domestically and externally going towards the realm of N200billion. From that background, coupled with 30 local governments with huge civil servants, one would rather advise Comrade Sunmonu, chairman of the Committee of Government and Labour, to share some views with the Governor by calling on the civil servants to know the truth about the financial status of the State. Politicking should end here.

Some professionals can be called to that kind of meeting, especially experts in public finance and banking to let the truth be told on the status of Osun. When an income is far, far less to expenditure, and there is no extra capacity to generate more, it means that the state must begin to reduce wasteful expenditure. So, government must pursue the idea of land charges, cut down if not suspend capital expenditure to pave the way for the maintenance of minimum services of government. Also, for the state to stay afloat, people must prepare for the impact. They must support government and show patriotism in view of the socio-economic reality. Reality is staring us in the face and for the clouds to clear; it will take five years or more.”

Do you know that instead of retrenchment at all, it is not a bad idea in Nigeria  to make each worker contribute a certain percentage to keep others on duty pending the end of this pandemic? Do you know that things are not normal again and it will be more abnormal if workers are retrenched by the Federal Government in whatever guise? Do you know that all workers must be prepared to make more sacrifice for the good of all? Do you know that the problem is global? Have you heard the news? Do you know that the the World Bank said on Monday 8th June, 2020 that  coronavirus pandemic inflicted a “swift and massive shock” that has caused the broadest collapse of the global economy since 1870 despite unprecedented government support?  Do you know that the World Bank has predicted that the global economy will contract the most since World War II this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing incomes and sending millions of people into poverty in emerging and developing nations? Do you know that it is predicted that global Gross Domestic Product will probably shrink 5.2 per cent in 2020 as published in the semi-annual Global Economic Prospects report released on Monday 8th June, 2020? Do you know that this is the first recession since 1870 triggered solely by a pandemic, and it continues to manifest itself in various forms? The voice of   Ceyla Pazarbazioglu, of the World Bank cuts in:

“This is the first recession since 1870 triggered solely by a pandemic, and it continues to manifest itself. Given this uncertainty, further downgrades to the outlook are very likely. The decline in per-capita income may push 70 million to 100 million people into extreme poverty”.

          Have you heard the news that the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is falling on poorer Americans, as declared by the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on  Thursday 11th June, 2020? Do you know that as it is for Americans, so it is for Nigerians? The voice of Powell at the start of a Central Bank Forum for voices outside of Wall Street called “Fed Listens”cuts in:

“We are in the midst of an economic downturn without modern precedent. And while the burden is widespread, it has not been evenly spread. Those taking the brunt of the fallout are those least able to bear it…. Not only is there  the difficulty predicting how the coronavirus pandemic will play out, it is also unclear how American workers and consumers will react as lockdowns aimed at limiting the spread of the virus are lifted. The pandemic is falling on those least able to bear its burdens. It is a great increaser of inequality. It is low-paid workers in the service industries who are bearing the brunt of this, it is also women to an extraordinary degree.”

Do you know that the bad economy is dragging United States of America crazy? Have you heard the news that Democrats in the United States Congress – responding to two weeks of protests across the nation sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody – on Monday 8th June, 2020  unveiled a sweeping package of legislation aimed at combating police violence and racial injustice?  Do you know that the so-called Justice in Policing Act would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents and ban police choke-holds, among other changes? Do you know that it outlines the most ambitious changes to law enforcement sought by Congress in years? The voice of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a news conference cuts in:

“This moment of national anguish is being transformed into a movement of national action as Americans from across the country peacefully protest to demand an end to injustice. Police brutality is [a] heartbreaking reflection of an entrenched system of racial injustice in America. True justice can only be achieved with full comprehensive action.”

Do you know that the legislation would revise the federal criminal police misconduct statute to make it easier to prosecute officers who are involved in misconduct “knowingly or with reckless disregard”, alter “qualified immunity” protections for police “to enable individuals to recover damages when law enforcement officers violate their constitutional rights”, provide greater oversight and transparency of police behaviour in several ways, grant subpoena power to the US Department of Justice to conduct “pattern and practice” investigations of potential misconduct and help states conduct independent investigations and  create a “National Police Misconduct Registry”, a database to try to prevent officers from transferring from one department to another with past misconduct undetected? Do you know that this legislation is the most expansive effort in recent years to crack down at a federal level on policing practices across the US? Do you know that this administration will be appreciated more if these American Initiatives are included in our own Police Reforms?

      Are you aware that the United States economy officially entered a recession in February 2020 and was  announced on Monday, 8th June, 2020?    Do you know that this downturn is the first since 2009, when the last recession ended, and marks the end of the longest expansion — 128 months — in records dating back to 1854? Do you know that the National Bureau of Economic Research, of the United States  concludedthat the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warranted the designation of this episode as a recession? Do you know that America is just a call away and Nigeria may bear the burden in terms of remittances from the diaspora and Foreign Direct Investments?

Do you know that something strange  is happening to the United States and which is a danger to any democracy fashioned after American system? Have you heard that Joe Biden expressed fear that President Donald Trump will try to “steal” November’s election or not leave office if he loses? Have you heard that he predicts that the  military will intervene if Trump refuses to accept election loss? Do you know that these  remarks on The Daily Show that was aired late Wednesday 10th June, 2020 came during a discussion of voter suppression, a spotlight issue this week following chaotic elections in some States including Georgia, where problem-plagued voting machines and hours-long lines frustrated voters? Are you aware that before the 2016 election Trump claimed the poll was rigged against him and even after he triumphed over Hillary Clinton he asserted, again with no evidence, that millions of people voted illegally against him and estimated this cohort to consist of 3 million votes, the number of votes Hilary Clinton beat him by in the popular vote, as opposed to the electoral college system that determines who ascends to the White House in the United States? Are you aware that during the 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump refused to say during a final debate with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that he would concede if Clinton won? Do you know that election experts and officials expect a surge in mail-in voting this November due to concerns over the coronaviruspandemic, and warn the process could be marred by chaos of the type already seen in primary elections held in States during the viral outbreak?  Do you know that whatever the circumstances, the military should not be allowed to dabble into elections in the United States? The voice of Joe Biden cuts in:  “My single greatest concern is that this president’s going to try and steal this election.  This is a guy who said all mail-in ballots are fraudulent.”

Are you aware that on Friday  12th June, 2020,  the ILO and UNICEF warn of rampant rise in child labourdue to COVID-19 crisis??  According to the agencies, do you know that child labour decreased by 94 million since 2000, but that significant strides of two decades have the real risk of back-tracking due to the pandemic, according to UNICEF-ILO’s joint publication titled  “COVID-19 and Child Labour: A time of crisis, a time to act”? Do you know that the report hinted that COVID-19 could result in a rise in poverty and therefore lead to an increase in child labour as households use every available means to survive, or may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions and in times of crisis, child labour becomes a coping mechanism for many families? The voice of ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder cuts in:  “As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many could resort to child labour. Social protection is vital in times of crisis, as it provides assistance to those who are most vulnerable. Integrating child labour concerns across broader policies for education, social protection, justice, labourmarkets, and international human and labour rights makes a critical difference.”

The voice of UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore cuts in:

“As poverty rises, schools close and the availability of social services decreases, more children are pushed into the workforce. As we re-imagine the world post-COVID, we need to make sure that children and their families have the tools they need to weather similar storms in the future. Quality education, social protection services and better economic opportunities can be game changers. Evidence is gradually mounting that child labour is rising as schools close during the pandemic. Even when classes restart, some parents may no longer be able to afford to send their children to school.”

As we wish the President happy celebration, we urge his administration to always see civil servants as strong partners in progress. And to Barister Adejare Adebisi, may you find more favours with Allah, your Maker.

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