By Funmi Ajumobi
Offenses committed by children can be traced to neglect by parents and society and can be remedied if parents and guardians are educated on how to raise the children.
Speaking with stakeholders in Oshodi and Mushin Local Governments on Diversion Community Rehabilitation Programme, at the Fountain Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos, recently, the Executive Director, Grace Springs Rehabilitation Home, an (NGO), Mrs Omolara Olawoyin, said children were vulnerable and that many of the offenses they commit were mostly caused by the neglect of parents and society.
According to Olawoyin, who is the coordinator of the programme in Lagos State, “We work with children age 10 to 17 years who are in conflict with the law and those that are likely to commit minor offenses that are anti-social behaviour like truancy, pilfering, fighting, etc.
When they are in conflict with the law for stealing, fighting, and other minor offenses, they are taken to the Police Station but instead of charging the children to court, they are sent to our organization for rehabilitation.
After rehabilitating them through research on the root cause of the offense, we do counselling and design training programmes for them, according to their need and we re-integrate them into the society after graduating them from our centre”, she added.
She encouraged the stakeholders present, including Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons, the Media, Local government counsellors and para-military officers from Neighbourhood Watch and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to be the watchdog in their communities as they take the information to their various communities on the importance of the diversion where children in conflict with the law are rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.