The Ministry of Youth and Social Development on Thursday flagged off a sensitisation initiative on Ending Violence Against Children (ENDVAC).
Briefing members of the Press on the initiative at the Ministry’s conference room in Alausa Ikeja, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Olusegun Dawodu stated that the exercise is going to take place in Ikeja, Alimosho, Ikorodu and other parts of the State.
He stated that in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, the present administration has declared zero-tolerance for Sexual and Domestic Violence as well as Child Abuse while remaining resolute that those who suffer sexual and gender-based violence are able to access justice.
According to the Commissioner, a recent survey indicated a high prevalence of sexual, physical and emotional violence against children in Nigeria with very few children speaking out about their experiences, maintaining that only a few sought or received justice.
Noting that the State government has put in place several types of machinery and structures geared towards implementation of policies that will bring an end to all forms of abuse, Dawodu outlined some of the laws guiding against child abuse such as Child’s Rights Law, 2015 as amended, Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy (2016), Plan of Action to Empower Marginalised Adolescent Girls 2015-2025 among others.
“Recently, the Ministry partnered with the British Council under its rule of Law and anti-corruption programme to establish the Local Government Child Rights Implementation Committee in five local governments in August 2019. This is in line with the provision of Child Rights Laws to ensure that issues of Child Rights violations take the front burner across the various communities in Lagos State,” Dawodu noted.
He, however, stated that despite the efforts of government, a sizeable number of children still suffer significant harm, most especially alms begging, hence the need for continued sensitisation of the various critical stakeholders; Parents, Caregivers, Religious Leaders, Family Members, Teachers, Market Men and Women, Drivers, Unions and others who may have contact with children.
Fielding questions from journalists, the Commissioner sought the support of stakeholders and Lagosians to tackle the menace of using children for alms begging by providing meaningful information so as to nip the menace in the bud.
He, however, stated that the government cannot restrict people from coming into Lagos but will ensure that the syndicates behind using children for alms begging will be identified and prosecuted.