By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
THE Anambra State Government threatened weekend that parents and guardians whose wards are caught hawking and begging on the streets stood the risk of arrest and prosecution.
The state Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Mrs Ify Obinabo, while speaking during the celebration of this year’s International Day of Families, explained that the action would ensure the survival, proper development and protection of every child in the state.
According to her, the measure would also serve as a deterrent to parents and guardians.
She said, “The rate of hawking and begging on our streets by children and the rate of child sexual abuse, trafficking and maltreatment in the state are alarming.
“The use of children for domestic labour, negligence and maltreatment on the part of parents and guardians contradict the tenets of the Child Rights law.
“The ministry is ready to arrest and prosecute anyone – parents or guardians – who abuse the fundamental rights of children in the state.
“From next week, if we see any child hawking or begging on the street, that child will identify whoever engaged him or her and we will arrest the person.”
The Commissioner said her ministry would continue to sensitise parents on the need to send their children to school and prioritise their upbringing, describing education and proper upbringing of children as the only way to eradicate poverty and crime in the society.
“These children need care, love, support and sense of belonging, not abuse or domestic labour”, she added.