Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode

Martins Ifijeh
Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and his wife, Bolanle, have called for concerted effort to wipe out all forms of violence against children.

They made the call during the launch of the Lagos State Response Plan of Action to End Violence against Children, organised by the state’s Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, US Mission in Nigeria, United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) and other development partners.

Governor Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, Hon. Wasiu Sanni Eshilokun, promised to strengthen the capacity of relevant government agencies to stamp out violence against children. He praised the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and technical partners for their efforts, promising that his administration would see the end of the menace in the state.

In her own address, Bolanle, who stated that no form of violence against children was justifiable, noted that it was saddening that violence was perpetrated against children across the world with impunity.

She said, “Child slavery, child labour, sexual assault, conscription of male children into rebel militias, physical brutalisation of children by foster parents, denial of medical and social care, denial of education, and sundry others, are some of those cases of violence against children, in most countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and others’’

She stated further that it was more heart-breaking to note, that children suffer violence more in the hands of those who were close to them like fathers, mothers, elder siblings, teachers, uncles and other superiors, who exercised some form of authority over them.

Stressing the consequence of violence on children, she said, “Children who have been roundly violated and abused, run the risk of having their bond of trust broken forever. Such children hardly ever grow to love truly or maintain any serious intimate relationship because of their ugly experience. It is a permanent emotional scar that sticks with them.”

She commended the state government for maintaining zero tolerance to acts of violence against children and thanked development partners like UNICEF and USAID, for working relentlessly to end violence against children around the world.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Lola Akande, stated that the ministry was working tirelessly to ensure that the voices of children in the state were heard, adding that everything possible would be done to stamp out the social evil.

Dignitaries in attendance included Senator Oluremi Tinubu, special representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Violence Against Children, Marta Santos Pais; Country representative UNICEF, Jean Gough and many others.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on 15th September last year launched the Federal Government’s response plan of action to end violence against children with a mandate to states to launch their own versions. Lagos State became first among the states to fulfill that mandate.