By Vivian Emoni
The Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP), on Thursday in Abuja trained 50 school teachers and parents/guardians on strategies and approaches to end violence against children in the FCT.
The Executive Director of the foundation, Rev. Sister Agatha Chikelue, while addressing participants from various areas in the FCT, said that the training would reduce violence in the FCT.
Chikwelu said that the aim of the training was to educate the participants more on the importance of protecting the lives of the children from such violence and crimes.
She said that the participants were selected from various schools as well as some parents and guardians in Local Government Areas of the FCT.
Chikwelu also said that the effort was to ensure that the training extended to many people who were not privileged to participate, thereby, impacting more knowledge that would promote the lives of the children in the FCT.
She said that the teachers, parents, guardians and wards were not only made to take care of their biological children but supposed to take the responsibility to other children.
According to her, a lot of evil and various kinds of crimes are being committed by bad people. Many children are dying gradually, and they don’t know whom to tell their story to.
“These children are even afraid of their parents. They cannot express their feelings to their parents because of lack of trust from the parents.
“This is because the parents don’t show the children love, they are pushing them to housemaids, nannies, uncles, aunties, and other relatives.
“We have gathered to educate ourselves on strategies we can use to protect our children, to understand more the way to know the plight of these children who have fallen victim to a series of violence.
“We want to know how we can handle the situation, because some of these innocent children don’t even know whom to run to or tell the story of their lives,” she said.
The executive director said that the parents and guardians would always claim that they were practising culture, tradition and religion, while the children were facing trouble, molestation from people living around them.
She said that disorderliness, anomaly and corruption had increased in various areas in the community, adding that the situation was affecting the development of the society.
“If we do not train our children well, it will turn against us as well as our society, whatever we plant is what we will reap. As leaders, parents, teachers and guardians we have failed our children.
“Fathers raping their daughters, mothers seducing their sons, teachers raping their students. Making innocent children lose confidence in us. Violence against children is really on the increase and we must do something to address it.
“But, we can start today with the support from the foundation to bring back the glory. I believe we can make a great change to our society,” she said.
Chikelue said that the training was part of an intervention the foundation was offering to ensure there would be a great resolution and positive change in the society.
She said that the foundation`s objective was to organise exchange, internship and fellowship programmes that engaged in child welfare and protection.
She added that the foundation was also engaging on empowerment and climate change projects and building coalition, community resilience against violent extremism.
Mrs Ijeoma Amugo, Director, Violence Against Persons Prohibition Department, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said that sexual and gender based violence was on the increase in the country.
Amugo said that the violence was mainly among the children, adding that hundreds of cases especially rape and incest hardly report by the victims to relevant authority, due to stigmatisation.
She said that the agency collaborated with other relevant stakeholders on strong sensitisation to communities and traditional rulers, educating them on the dangers of violence and crime in the society.
“The agency also sponsors jingles, short videos, dramas, films as well as leveraging on the various social media platforms, adding that the effort was to end crimes and violence in the country.
According to her, the agency in collaboration with relevant stakeholders’ including NGO’s, CSO’s and Faith Based Organisations to ensure that we empathise with victims of violence.
“We must stop victims of violence, especially among the children and we will make sure we provide these victims access to support, care and justice.
“Together we break the culture of silence and encourage victims to speak up,” she said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman