By Lucky Isibor
The wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki has charged parents and all adults in the state to be active participants in the protection of children, saying it is a collective responsibility.
Mrs. Obaseki gave this charge while declaring open the “Sensitization of Stakeholders On The Draft Edo State Priority Plan To End Violence Against Children (VAC)” in Benin City, Tuesday, 22 August.
Mrs. Obaseki who was represented by Ms Efosa Uyigue, pointed out that Violence against children is a significant problem in Nigeria affecting millions of children.
Lamenting that the most disturbing trend is that children are no longer safe in places that are supposed to be safe for them, Mrs. Obaseki said: “In Edo state, every time we hear of different cases, how children are being violated in places that are supposed to be safe for our children.
“They are no longer safe in their own homes, schools. Schools used to be one of those places children are safe and teachers are supposed to protect them, but we hear cases of teachers abusing our children.”
While enjoining all adults in the state to be involved in this protection of children, the Governor’s wife urged parents to be closer to their children and encourage them to speak out when they are violated or attempts made to violate them.
“Every body has to be involved. Parents at home should encourage their children to speak out when they experience strange behaviour in them”, Mrs Obaseki said.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Magdalene Ohenhen, stated that the draft Edo State Priority Plan To End Violence Against Children (VAC), is a document that spells out the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in the state.
She disclosed that Tuesday session was for the media and enjoined media practitioners to take a critical look at the document and make input if need be.
High point of the occasion was the presentation of the Edo state Priority Plan To End Violence Against Children. The document gave the strategies to be adopted to include: “supporting parents, caregivers and families; helping children manage risks and challenges; promoting and providing support services for children; implementing laws and policies that protect children; carrying out data collection and research among others.
Media practitioners were led to the event by the Edo state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Sir Roland Osakue.