By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Lagos State Government has sealed no fewer than three baby factories and rescued 162 abandoned babies, sexually abused children among others.
The State Government also removed from the streets 1,680 children, beggars/destitute/mentally challenged persons, to ensure sanity returns to roads in the state.
Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri, gave the statistics during ministerial press briefing in Alausa, Ikeja.
He lamented that the attitude of parents towards their children was not improving.
Dabiri said: “To ensure protection for children in Lagos State, we have shut three illegal orphanage homes. Of these, one operates as baby factory while two others were unregistered homes.
“The children and teenagers rescued from the baby factory and homes were placed at government approved homes for care and protection.”
Aside the children being rescued from the homes, the commissioner complained that parents abuse their children’s rights which was captured under Child’s Right Law 2015.
As part of efforts to ensure their rights were protected in Lagos, Dabiri said: “162 children who were rescued during the period under review, comprises 62 Males and 100 Females.
He added: “Also, 1,680 beggars/destitute/mentally challenged persons and street children were rescued off the streets of Lagos out of which 1,299 rehabilitee were released to their relations for re-integration.”
The commissioner however, decried the rate of drug abuse and other social vices among the youth.
He said it had become a cankerworm, vowing, however, that the state government was ready to tackle and fight it to a standstill.
The commissioner said that drug abuse among youths had gone beyond the conventional use of marijuana and cigarette smoking.
“They are now into strange things like intake of codeine, tramadol, mixture of soda drinks and bleach, toothpaste, use of LCD tablets, even to the extent of the use of the venom of black mamba snake.
“A lot of programmes have been lined up to tackle the menace and we will fight it to a standstill. We are equally engaging non- governmental agencies and youth organisations for them to sensitise their members and youths on peaceful conduct,” the commissioner added.
According to him, the state government in 2016 developed and launched the state’s youth policy, a document guiding the conduct and affairs of youths in the state.
He said that in order for the government to address the upsurge of youth unemployment, trained a total of 13, 314 youths in various vocations.
Dabiri said the Ministry had also commenced the implementation of the Youth Economic Empowerment Scheme, where a total of 900 youths were expected to be trained in various vocations over a nine-month period.
During the period under review, the commissioner said that 57,350 students benefitted from individual and group counselling sessions to curb truancy, gangsterism and other social vices.
He said that five pregnant students were assisted to access adequate antenatal and delivery services and were also integrated back to school.
Dabiri said 150 reported cases of sexual and physical abuse were treated, while with the introduction of the state’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, more students and pupils were encouraged to report cases of abuse.
“The response has been helpful, effective and indeed created an open door for children and parents to sell information to us,” the commissioner said.