The Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development on Thursday flagged off a sensitization initiative on Ending Violence Against Children (ENDVAC).
Briefing members of the press on the sensitization exercise at the ministry’s conference room in Alausa Ikeja, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Olusegun Dawodu stated that the exercise was going to kick-start from Ikeja, Alimosho, Ikorodu Local Government Areas and other parts of the state.
He stated that in line with the THEMES Agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the present administration had declared zero tolerance for sexual violence, domestic violence and child abuse, while remaining resolute in ensuring that children who suffer sexual and gender based violence were able to access justice.
According to Dawodu, 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, adding that only a few sought or received Justice.
He noted that the state government had put in place several machinery and structures geared towards implementation of policies that would bring an end to all forms of abuse.
These, according to him included some legal and policy frameworks like the Child’s Rights Law, 2015 as amended, Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy (2016), Plan of Action to Empower Marginalized Adolescent Girls 2015-2025 and other policies that have been put in place by successive Government.
“Recently, the ministry partnered with British Council under its rule of Law and anti-corruption program to establish the Local Government Child Rights Implementation Committee in 5 LGAs in August 2019. This is in line with the provision of Child Rights Laws and 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 sensitization of the various critical stakeholders; Parents, Caregivers, Religious leaders, Family members, Teachers , Market women/men, Drivers, unions and others who may have contact with Children.
Fielding questions from journalist, 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 the state but will ensure that the syndicates behind using children for alms begging will be identified and prosecuted.