Worried by the growing cases of sexual violence in the country, the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB) has joined numerous calls seeking a concerted effort against rape, sexual assault, and particularly child molestation.
This is as the board also called on relevant stakeholders including residents in the state to be involved in the fight against sexual assault and child molestation across the country towards ensuring a better and secure environment for children to grow and thrive.
The Chairman of LASUBEB, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King, said that the current waves on sexual violence in the country demand that stakeholders and society at large rise up and lend their voices against child molestation, stating that children deserve to have their rights and dignity protected.
Speaking on Tuesday during the event to commemorate the International Day of the African Child which was held at the LASUBEB office in Maryland Ikeja which was preceded by a sensitization walk around Maryland, Ikeja to create awareness against sexual assault and child molestation, Alawiye-King noted that the need to protect the children cannot be overemphasized.
He noted that LASUBEB remains committed to providing quality education and a child-friendly educational system for the pupils of Lagos state while ensuring that public schools run a system and structure that protects the best interest of young pupils by keeping them safe from all forms of abuse and increase their confidence in speaking out when oppressed.
‘’Children are the future of our nation; we must ensure that their voices are not drowned. They deserve to have their rights protected and preserved to grow into responsible adults. A child whose rights have been constantly violated will likely grow up to become an adult who does not respect the rights of others.’’ he said.
Furthermore, Alawiye-King clarified that the theme for this year’s celebration ‘’Access to a child-friendly justice system in Africa’’ was apt considering the alarming rates of reported cases of sexual abuse and molestation in the society.
‘’The exponential rise in cases of abuse against children, the perpetuating culture of silence, and the impunity enjoyed by the doers of these evils informed the decision of the State Government, through LASUBEB to join other member states today to advocate for a justice system that is accessible, age-appropriate, speedy, diligent and focused on the needs and rights of the Nigerian child’’.
Alawiye-King reiterated the state government’s stance on the protection of the rights of children while promising that more measures and policies will be put in place towards protecting the children.
‘’ In Lagos State, the rights of children are well encapsulated under the Child’s Rights Law 2007, a law designed to enforce the rights and advance the welfare of children. However more needs to be done to ensure the adequate implementation of the law to guarantee a truly child-friendly justice system’’ He noted.
The guest speaker at the event, an Associate Professor of the faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Dr. Bola Makinde, defined abuse as harassment, rape, and molestation, explaining that children become vulnerable when there is lack of sex education.
She, however, enjoined parents to teach their children the proper names of sensitive parts of their body and trust no one with their body.
The day of the African Child is celebrated annually on July 16 to highlight and discuss the threats and opportunities facing the full realization of the rights of children in Africa.