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LASUBEB Marks International Day Of The African Child

The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB), on Tuesday, celebrated the International Day of the African Child with a renewed call for the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in the fight against sexual assault and child molestation in the society. The event, which was held at the LASUBEB Office in Maryland, Ikeja, was preceded by a sensitisation walk around the axis to create more awareness against sexual assault and child molestation. The Chairman of LASUBEB, Mr. Wahab Alawiye-King, in his address, stated that the theme for the celebration - “Access To A Child-Friendly Justice System In Africa” - was apt considering the high rate of recently reported cases in the country.

He said, “The exponential rise in cases of abuse against children, the perpetuating culture of silence and the impunity enjoyed by the doers of these evil acts informed the decision of the State Government, through LASUBEB, to join other member States to advocate for a justice system that is accessible, age-appropriate, speedy, diligent and focused on the needs and rights of the Nigerian child”. Alawiye-King reiterated the State Government’s stance on the protection of children's rights, saying “In Lagos State, the rights of children are well encapsulated under the Child's Rights Law 2007, a law designed to enforce the rights and advance the welfare of children. While maintaining that more needs to be done to ensure adequate implementation of the law to guarantee a truly child-friendly justice system, the Chairman enjoined the general public to lend their voices in support of the fight against child molestation in order to protect their rights and dignity. “Children are the future of our nation; we must ensure that their voices are not drowned. They deserve to have their rights protected and cared for, in order to grow into responsible adults. A child whose rights have been constantly violated will likely grow up to become an adult who does not respect the rights of others”, he opined. The Chairman emphasised that LASUBEB remains committed to providing quality and child-friendly educational system for the pupils of Lagos State, while ensuring that public schools run a system and structure that protects the best interest of young pupils by keeping them safe from all forms of abuse and increases their confidence in speaking out when oppressed. Delivering her address at the event, Mrs. Folusho Ajimoti, Board Secretary, LASUBEB, remarked that the programme was organised and preceded by a sensitisation walk to create awareness for tackling the prevalence of child abuse in the society.

“What we have noticed in our society today is that child molestation is on the increase, especially sexual abuse, as the media has been filled with gory tales of child molestation recently. In fact, about 717 cases have been reported in the last five months. This is unacceptable and must be nipped in the bud quickly” Ajimoti said. The Guest Speaker at the event and an Associate Professor of the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Dr. Bola Makinde, identified sexual abuse as harassment, rape and molestation, stating that children become vulnerable when there is lack of sex education. She enjoined parents to teach their children the proper names of sensitive parts of their body and trust no one with their bodies. Recall that the African Child Day is celebrated annually, on July 16, to highlight and discuss the threats and opportunities facing the full realisation of the rights of children in Africa.



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