Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
Osun State Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Barrister Bukola Olaboopo has urged the government at different levels to put more efforts to ensure attack against children is completely eradicated.
She also sought the provision of adequate security around schools across the country so as not to make them a soft target for terrorists.
Speaking at the 2021 Children’s Day celebration held at Osogbo City Stadium, she said the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic exposed children to various violent acts, including rape, molestation and illegal hawking.
She also charged parents and guardians to desist from keeping their children with neighbours on the guise of trust, saying children are the best safe with parents or registered daycare centres.
As we are all aware, the adults, government and other stakeholders hold a sacred trust of providing safety and security for the children. There is therefore no duty more important than ensuring that the welfare of children is protected and their lives are free from fear of any kind and they can grow up in peace and in a secured environment.
It is quite unfortunate that children bore the brunt of the hazards that befell society during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is disheartening to note that a good number of children were traumatized, became orphans and vulnerable due to the loss of their parents from the COIVD-19 pandemic or subjects to violence, abuse labour and sexual exploitation, especially during the lockdown by the same adults that are supposed to care and protect them.
Unfortunately, the trend was gaining momentum till the Osun state government, through the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Affairs took a stance step to halt the ugly incidence. The state in her usual style was very proactive, members of staff of the ministry worked around the clock even in the course of the lockdown. We enhanced a very key collaboration with security operatives and security agencies to respond to cases especially those of abuse and child rape and we expanded the states toll-free lines to cover children based cases.
I must at this junction warn parents to be wary of the safety of their children at all times. Times as gone beyond leaving your children behind with neighbours and relatives, especially the female, when going out or doing business, keep them at designated care centres for minimal protection at least. I am telling us, all these traumas had led to psychological setback, anxiety, fear, anger and depression even schools have become targets of attacks.
I wish to appeal to all perpetrators of violence that children must be kept out of conflicts, they should not be targets as victims but should be nurtured as the heritage of God Almighty that needs special attention and protection.
Meanwhile, Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola took the salute of students of public and private schools during their match pass.