Lagos State has begun a campaign to end violence against children in the state.
The launch comes barely five months after the Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Year of Action to end violence against children.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said that the state was leading in the campaign, having observed the increase in violence toward the young ones.
The governor noted that the state had a moral, legal and economic imperative to end violence against children.
“I am proud that Lagos State is the first state to launch the campaign, having received numerous complaints about individuals’ negative attitude towards the children,” he said.
Governor Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly, Mr. Sanni Eshinlokun, maintained that the programme would have a positive impact and cause for a change in attitude towards the children.
The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Lola Akande stated that “From today we hope to begin reduction in any form of violence against children with the launch of the campaign. This is what we have been canvassing for a very long time,” she said.
Akande, a former Lagos State House of Assembly added that “We must give a listening hear to our children and our orientation must change, hence forth. The habit that, violence is culture must change.”
The Ministry will embark on public sensitization, in order to get the information across to the grassroots.
First in West Africa
Representative of the UN secretary-General on Violence, Marta Santos Pais applauded the Nigerian government in its drive to protect the children.
“The exciting initiative of the President and Government of Nigeria attracted International praise and attention, not only because Nigeria is the first country in West Africa but the 8th in the world to launch the campaign”.
Pais said that physical and psychological violence against children still occurred in homes, stressing the need for holistic action against it.
She said that violence compromises the development of a child, sometimes in an irreversible manner and also has a traumatic impact on the development of society at large.
Chairman, National Population Commission, Eze Duruiheoma, while presenting a report, Violence Against Children in Nigeria ,said that enforcement of law is the key to put a halt to any form of violence.
Duruiheoma enjoined Lagos State to ensure that the campaign is replicated at the local government level.
He however advised people to always speak out and report to the appropriate authority whenever they observed any form of ill-treatment on children.
Some of the dignitaries at the event include the UNICEF Representative Jean Gouch, Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of Lagos State Governor, Bolanle Ambode, among others.