*As FG opens rehabilitation centres
BY VICTORIA OJEME & CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA – THE Country representative of United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, to Nigeria, Dr. Suomin Sakai, yesterday attributed the street children phenomenon in the country to societal failure.
This came as the Federal Government established centres to provide shelter, education and vocational skill for the children.
Sakai, who stated this on the occasion to mark this year’s Day of the Child celebration in Abuja, mentioned child safety, good counseling, social welfare work force among others as measures to be instituted to tackle the phenomenon.
“It is not about the money the government has, the issue here is, do we all have the will to utilize the social capital the community has to enable family to take care of their children to avoid going to the street,” she asked.
She said some children left home because of high handedness by their parents, while others were in the street as a result of poverty faced by their parents.
“Children may leave their home because of physical abuse to get out of violence, this should not be allowed, parents and community should be educated on how best to take care of children,” she added.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Idris Kuta, said the Ministry had established centres to provide shelter for street children, as well as give them the opportunity to learn numerical, vocational and life saving skills.
According to him, grants have been given to NGOs for various initiatives that address the rights of children”. He said about 7,488 children were benefiting from the government initiatives, which provide school fees, books, uniforms and shoes, advising people not to see street children as criminal but render any assistance God puts in their mind to improve their status.