Tuesday, December 17, 2019 7:54 pm
The Kogi state government has rescued 39 babies abandoned by their mothers and prosecuted a number of 15 child abuse offenders within the last three years. In the same vein, the mother of one of the rescued babies has refused to accept her “claiming she doesn’t need her ”
This was disclosed to journalists in Lokoja on Monday by Mrs. Bola-Olorunsaiye Bolanle, the Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, shortly after declaring open a 3-day training program on Child Safety and Protection for Social welfare workers across the state and staff of the Ministry.
She said her ministry has to partner with Action Aid Nigeria, AAN to give more bite to ongoing onslaught by the Governor Yahaya Bello administration on the increasing cases of child abuse in the society, stressing that the present situation where children are treated unjustly is no longer acceptable, and offenders cannot go unpunished any longer.
Explaining, Bolanle said the 39 rescued abandoned babies were cases of child abandonment at birth or infant and those got from madwomen, adding, the 15 that were prosecuted were arrested for child abuse, in form of early marriage and violent related cases, while many of such cases are currently being treated in the law court.
She said the essence of the programme is to equip social welfare workers and Staff of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in the state to know their right, duty or what to do when child’s right is violated in their various domains.
“Children safety, protection and development are not just obligatory but fundamental to any responsible government globally….the responsibility of course is our mandate and core functions which must be handled professionally with all seriousness it deserves”, she said.
Citing example of the controversial teenage marriage of a 13-year old girl in Ofu Local government, rescue of an abandoned a-day old baby at Otokiti village ,a suburb of Lokoja, and arrest and prosecution of a woman in Lokoja that poured acid on a kid in her custody as many of other issues she had handled and resolved, she said that many orphanage homes operating in the state lack necessary facilities, and they will be checked and made to conform with acceptable best practices.
While she debunked the erroneous news being peddled round that the Otokiti abandoned baby has been sold out for #1m, she stated that the said baby is with them at the orphanage home, adding that the ministry will soon embark on auditing orphanage homes to know those kids to be adopted or returned to their original owner.
“The abandoned Otokiti baby is a sad story, we got the baby on October 8 , with maggot infested all over her. We reported to the police, treated the baby and moved her to orphanage home. Due to public out cry, we decided to handle back the baby to the owner, but the plateau lady mother refused, saying, she doesn’t need the baby. The story of selling the baby at #1m is false”, she expressed.
However, the ActionAid Nigeria representative, Halima Sedeeq , who is also the state acting Executive director PIBCID said the safety of children is a cardinal sector of focus and as such the international non governmental organisation has to partner with the state government via the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to realise that aim.