By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji on Tuesday advocated stronger laws to stem the menace of violations of the rights of children in and across Nigeria.
Oba Adetunji made the call in Ibadan while speaking at the 2018 annual stakeholders conference on action against child trafficking and labour to commemorate the United Nations World Day against Child Labour. held at the J. Travers Place, inside St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Bashorun, Ibadan.
The royal father emphasized at the
event themed “Generation: Sade and Healthy” organized by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan.that there is the urgent need for a law hibiting child hawking and other violations of the rights of children with emphasis on enforcement of such laws and punishment for offenders.
Oba Adetunji who lamented the increasing rate of child hawkers within Ibadan metropolis maintained that children as the future of any nation requires continuous and committed investment to secure their future.
The Olubadan then charged parents and guardians to desist from every acts capable to reduce or expose the children to danger and hazard.
Oyo state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela stated that the stakeholders meeting had achieved its objectives by giving adequate information to the people and educating them on the responsibility of every individual in ensuring the rights of any child is not violated.
Professor Olowofela maintained that “whatever happens today is a product of the past and whatever people do to children today have an effect on their future”, saying, ” the truth is that culture and custom often times cripple the right and privileges of children but the Oyo state government is trying all within its power to ensure that the future of children within the state is not jeopardized”
“There are conflicting figures on out of school children in the southwest but the World Bank has given a grant to help states curb the menace.It is a five-year project and government is already working on ensuring all children have access to education which is a fundamental right. The way the grant works is that if you don’t perform, you cannot access funds. And I am sure we will soon nip the menace in the bud,” he said.
The Commissioner for Women affairs, Mrs Atinuke Oshunkoya in her remark disclosed that Oyo state government “is committed to implementing the child rights law and enforcing it across every nook and cranny of the state, adding that every effort of the ministry at present is geared towards ensuring a better future devoid of abuses for every child within the state.
Speaking, Oyo state Commissioner of Police, Mr Abiodun Odude, represented by the state Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Adekunle Ajisebutu noted that the police is aware of the need to protect children and is willing to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that the Child Rights Law is enforced and violators punished to ensure a better future for the children and a safer environment for everyone.
CP Odude however tasked the public to see the police as partners in progress and work with them to ensure the complete protection of children within their domains.
JDPC Director , Rev. Fr Ezekiel Ade Owoeye in his welcome address attributed the problem of child trafficking and labour and other child rights abuses topoverty, overpopulation in the family, unemployment, lack of information and a willingness to exploit children among other issues.
He stated that the 2017 stakeholders conference revealed that there is a need to create more awareness and campaign, adding that, “it is apparent that many children are still being affected and are vulnerable to child trafficking and labour. There is a need for stakeholders to come up with strategic actions to contribute to curbing the problem so that children in Oyo state can represent a generation that is safe and healthy,”