By: Temitope Adedeji, Ondo
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has reiterated the commitment of his administration to the protection of Ondo State children’s right, pledging to strengthen the state’s Child Justice Administration to prosecute offenders.
Akeredolu said this on Saturday in Akure during the event to mark the 2017 annual Children’s Day celebration, themed: “Child Protection and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Issues and Opportunities.”
The governor, who said May 27 is unique because it also marks the birthday of his first child, affirmed that the 17 goals and 169 targets of the SDGs are equally very relevant to children.
He pointed out that the state government cannot afford to abandon the children because they are victims in times of hardship, crisis, violence, abuse, injustice and other forms of deprivation.
According to him, “We shall not refrain from carrying out our expected responsibilities towards the children and in fact the generality of the citizens of Ondo State.
“The implementation of Ondo State Child’s Right Law with renewed vigor and the various required structures for the facilitation of children’s access to justice shall be put in place or strengthened.
“We shall ensure that key role players in the state’s Child Justice Administration are given the required professional training to provide the necessary child protection service delivery in the state.”
Among other things, the governor assured them of quality education and basic health care, saying “Our vision on child protection services for the state is to make Ondo State the best in the promotion of the welfare of children in Nigeria.”
Governor Akeredolu, who also read the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’s speech on Child’s Right Law, tasked all stakeholders to support government at all levels to achieve it.
However, the governor dramatised it by presenting a ‘Red Card,’ saying: “I hereby present this symbolic Red Card to tell all child abusers in the state that our administration will go all way out to invoke the provisions of Ondo State Child’s Right Law 2007, which made abuse of any child in the state an offence on any person found guilty by any court of law.”
The state Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pharm. Mrs Funmilayo Osundolire, earlier said in her address that it was initiated to benefit and promote the welfare of children.
She also noted that the annual event, which was first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, is mandatory for all countries to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children.
The Permanent Secretary added that the event is always lined up with specially selected events to afford children the opportunity to socialize and share experiences that will broaden their horizon.
“In Nigeria, the day remains important as it draws attention of government at all levels and the society at large to prevailing issues on children,” Osundolire said.