Cross section of participants at the event in Akure
By Segun Giwa
Concerned stakeholders in Ondo State have warned perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) to steer clear of the state or be ready to face the full wrath of the law.
The stakeholders spoke at a meeting organised by Ondo State Agency Against Gender-Based Violence (OSAA-GBV) in Akure on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting had as its theme: “Ondo State Child Protection Policy Validation”.
In his remarks, the Country Representative of Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, said the aim of the meetings was to find a common ground to protect children under 18 years against violence in schools, homes and in the streets.
Olorunmola said plans had been concluded to embark on sensitisation of the public on the new child protection policy.
He emphasised that the sustenance of the law relied on the support and participation of all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, public institutions, security agencies and the citizenry.
“The essence of the validation is to ensure that nothing is left missing in the protection of every child against violence.
“There is a consensus reached that the document is necessary for the protection of our children in schools and schools must be made conducive and welcoming for the children.
“Not only schools but other places where children encounter hardship and to ensure they are protected, safe and not violated.
“There is the need for awareness to be created and no single institution can do this alone.
“All stakeholders must come together to achieve this, including the fourth estate of the realm,” he said.
Also, the Wife of the State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, called on parents, teachers and non-teaching staff in schools to ensure conducive and welcoming environment for pupils.
Represented by Executive Secretary of OSAA-GBV, Mrs Bolanle Afolabi, Akeredolu said that agencies of government could not do it alone but all stakeholders must play their individual roles.
Afolabi said that the agency in collaboration with all necessary stakeholders would earnestly embarked on sensitisation on content of the policy across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
She said that the sensitisation team would visit both public and private schools to educate students and teachers on the new law.
Afolabi said that the team would also visit markets, religious worship centres and motor parks to teach them on how to protect their children against all forms of violence.
“As an agency, we will monitor all these schools to ensure that all policies are strictly followed and implemented in all schools in the state.
“We will also collect data on cases of child abuse that might have occurred in schools and to ensure justice is done.
“The right of every student in schools must be protected,” she said.
Also, the Commissioner For Women Affairs and Social Development, Princess Adebunmi Osadahun, said that the interest of every child must be protected at all time.
Represented by Mrs Foluke Daramola, a Staff of the ministry, Osadahun said, “If every child is protected, we will be safe”.
The Oloba of Uso, Oba Ademola Oyinbade, noted that most parents did not care about the welfare of their children.
Oba Oyinbade said children hawking in the streets were being exposed to danger of social vices.
The traditional ruler promised to join other stakeholders in the campaign at the grassroots to ensure the children were protected. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Victor Adeoti/Adeleye Ajayi