The menace of child abuse was once again brought to the fore by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Hon. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and the wife of the Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola.
Both were speaking at the first parenting summit organised by Vanguard Media Limited, publishers of Vanguard Newspapers, in collaboration with United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) in commemoration of the Year 2011 International Day of the African Child with the theme “the place of parenting in curbing child abuse”.
The Deputy Governor while declaring the summit open said child abuse does not stop at sexual abuse and harassment, noting that parents who abandon or neglect their children due to career or religious engagement; or deny them the basic fundamental rights as enlisted in the United Nations Charter on the Rights of Children have abused such children.
Adefulire noted that beyond the provision of education and other basic needs of the children, parents should also create and spend time with them and address the issues that affect them at home or in the school.“Parenting is a serious business that we cannot abandon, abdicate or transfer to our house help or relations who can easily molest or abuse our children. If we are negligent or careless we will not be guiltless if our children are victims of child abuse,” she said.
The Deputy Governor, while calling on all parents to come together and unite behind the common purpose of eliminating child abuse, reminded them that children are God’s gifts entrusted in their care and they will be accountable for what becomes of them.
Adefulire disclosed that the state government has developed various programmes to take the children off the streets and prepare them for a better future.
Some of these programmes she said include: the Yellow Card initiative, ‘No Child is Left Behind’ Basic Education policy in compliance with the MDGs Goal No 2, the girl-child education project, the establishment of Skills Acquisition/Vocational centres, which empowers more than 9,000 young adults annually, the construction of the rehabilitation centre for victims of abuse and human trafficking as well as the provision of an enabling environment for learning and teaching.
She disclosed that the Fashola administration’s affirmative action through these programmes has lowered the cases of child abuse in the state, but said that total eradication is the target and enjoined all stakeholders to rise up and ensure the target is met.The First Lady, Dame Abimbola Fashola in her keynote address stressed the importance of parents in the development of children, noting that these roles cannot be transferred.
She enjoined parents to see the task of parenting as collaborative efforts of the father and mother, noting that inculcating family values in the children is a task for both parents.Mrs. Fashola admonished the children to see their parents as their friends and confidants and talk with them on any form of abuse or harassment they may be facing outside the home.
The summit was attended by the Director General of CBAAC, Prof. Tunde Babawale, wife of the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Adesegun, Speaker of the Lagos State Children’s parliament, Mr. Onoudo Emmanuel, students from various schools, parents and members of various media organisations and religious bodies.