Activist-Lawyer Mr Femi Falana on Thursday threatened to begin “arresting” street kids and moving them to government houses if the authorities fail to see to their welfare.
Falana warned that an organization he belonged to would begin the operation in January from Lagos State.
He said he had also filed a suit to compel the arrest of parents who prevent their children from going to school, or withdraw them prematurely.
Falana spoke at the Third Professionals’ Week annual public lecture, themed ‘Corruption, ethics and good governance”, organised by the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Lagos chapter.
A former Lagos State University (LASU) Vice Chancellor, Prof Lateef Hussain, chaired the occasion, while Osun State Attorney-General, Dr. Surajudeen Bashiru; a former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Monday Ubani, immediate past President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Arc. Abimbola Ajayi and Chief Executive Officer CMC Connect Ltd, were discussants.
Falana bemoaned the rising menace of abandoned children and urged the government to take over their education.
He said: “I belong to an organization and we’re are starting with Lagos by January next year, any child we see on the streets of Lagos, we are going to arrest the child and dump that child in Alausa (Lagos State secretariat and seat of government), so that the people in Alausa will have sleepless nights putting all our children in school.
“We have already filed a case in Abuja to arrest all parents who refuse to put their children in school, or who withdraw their children from school.
“About four days ago, 12 parents were prosecuted in Niger State for withdrawing their children from school, so, we are not going to say it is not our business.”
He argued that if government officials invested more in education, they would have less to steal.
Falana said: “My position is this: if our governments have to put every child in school, there’ll be less money to steal, because you have to build new schools, expand the existing facilities and recruit teachers from the public purse.”
The lawyer encouraged professional bodies to do more to stem the tide of corruption and impunity perpetrated or encouraged by their members.
Citing lawyers as an example, he urged the NBA to dis-bar Attorney-Generals serving under executives who disregard the rule of law.
Falana said: “If professional bodies are carrying out their statutory duties, it should be possible for the NBA to summon an Attorney-General whose government has disobeyed a court order to say ‘Mr Attorney-General, you either resign from that government or we remove you as a lawyer.’ I can assure you that everybody will sit up.”
Prof Hussain urged professionals to live up to the ethics of their professions and stand their ground against abuse of due process.
Dr Bashiru, who was represented by Dr Mubarak Adekilekun, canvassed a return to ethical values, like “discipline, integrity, dignity of labour, religious tolerance, self reliance and patriotism,” most of which, according to him, the country seems to be lacking.
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