Priscilla Ahemen Maakuna
Following the African Child Day celebration, held every 16th of June, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalist, NAWOJ, Ekiti state chapter, in collaboration with Hacey Health Initiative held a one day programme in remembrance of the children who died while protesting for their rights in Soweto.
The event which was tagged ‘Eliminating Harmful Practice Affecting Children Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013’ seeks to advocate for the rights children has in their upbringing as well as development.
Speaking on this, Coordinator of SARC Bar. Rita Ilevbare said, “there are four cardinal principles of child’s right, which includes Principle of survival, protection, development and participation, thereby reinstating the fact that, though parents have the authority to decide towards the upbringing of their children, the children should be allowed to participate in issues that concern them.”
According to her, “Children by their very nature are fragile, because of that they need special care, which includes, legal, policy and practice. Thankfully Nigeria has Child Rights Act and Law in 24 states, Ekiti being one of them.”
While delivering a lecture at the event on ‘Dangers of Drug Abuse’, Dr. Adebotu Ajiboye said the harmful effects of substance abuse cannot be neglected, stating that it affects the individual in different ways, ranging from psychosis to brain damage.
According to him, “Sampling about 10 students, 3 out of them are addicted to substance abuse. Drug abuse is like a dynamite which explodes the potentials of those who come into contact with it.”
“To be forewarned is to be fore-armed. If you loose material things, there is a greater possibility of getting it back but if you loose your brain to psychoactive substance, it will be hard to get it back,” he said.
While giving a goodwill message at the event the Chairperson of NAWOJ, Mrs Fatima Bello said though the event is celebrated every 16th of June, it got delayed due to the elections that took place in Ekiti state, stating that, it is not safe to move children around during election period.
She stated, “the theme of this year’s International Day of the African Child is impacting and very optimistic that all the children and other participants will garner adequate knowledge that will be beneficial to them in their future endeavors.
NAWOJ, Ekiti state is using this opportunity to call on government at all levels, parents, school owners, philanthropists and other relevant stakeholders not to relent on efforts in providing a safe and enabling environment for children with equal opportunities to develop appropriately in the interest of the nation.
On this note, I want to sincerely appreciate Hacey Health Initiative for the collaboration and sponsorship” she said.
Also delivering a goodwill message at the event, the chairman Nuj, Ekiti state chapter commended NAWOJ for the efforts put in place to ensure children’s rights is respected also stating that it is a very good opportunity for the student to learn about most of the things that they in their times didn’t have the opportunity of learning.
According to the VP Nuj Zone B, Mrs Ronke Samo who also gave a goodwill message at the event, children must be seen and heard, reinstating that they have an opinion in the matters that concern them.
Whilst representing Hacey Health Initiative, Oluwafemi Ayeni said the agency is at the fore front of ensuring Female Genital Mutilation is stopped in Nigeria as well as Ekiti.
She also stated that the agency is collaborating with everyone to help fight against FGM.