Children’s Day: Obaseki kicks against child marriage, seeks return of 14-yr-old child bride

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…condemns violence against children

The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said he is working with the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, to ensure the safe return of Memunatu Musa, a 14-year-old pupil of Enikaro Primary School, in Benin City, who was given out in marriage as a child-bride to a groom in Katsina.

The governor disclosed this at the 2019 Children’s Day celebration held at the University of Benin Sports Complex in Benin City, stressing that his administration would not allow children to be denied the opportunity to go to school in the state.

Obaseki assured that Mamunatu Musa would be brought back to the state to complete her education, noting that the state government would continue to work with the Federal Government in ensuring child marriage is stamped out from the country, so that children will have the opportunity to attain their full potential.

He noted that his administration has also set up mechanism to punish parents and teachers who abuse children in the state.

Obaseki described the theme for the 2019 Children’s Day; ‘Drug Abuse Among Children: Addressing the Challenges’ as a call to action for all to work towards ending the menace in Nigeria.

The governor said Edo State would key into the Federal Government’s intervention strategies to curb drug abuse among children, noting, “If we allow drugs and other vices to harm our children, we are destroying our future. Edo is currently working with the Federal Government and other stakeholders to develop appropriate responses and measures to end the rising cases of drug abuse among children.”

He noted that the state government would set up special teams at the local and state levels to coordinate issues relating to drug abuse and drive advocacy in schools against the trend. He said the state will also domesticate the National Disability Bill recently passed into law to cater for the needs of children with disabilities in the state.

The governor added that his administration would expand the National Home Grown School Feeding (NHGSF) programme in the state to improve school enrolment, create jobs and grow the agricultural sector.

The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, who graced the event, said the celebration is unique as it has brought to limelight the need to invest in the Nigerian child.

He urged the state government to sustain its developmental strides, adding that not investing in human capital would be disastrous.

In his speech, Speaker of the Edo Children Parliament, Master Richard Asen, said the 2019 Children’s Day celebration is a call to curb drug abuse among children in Nigeria.

Asen, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Miss Beatrice Otasowie Agonze, called for collaboration among stakeholders to curb the menace, which threatens the future of children involved in substance abuse.

He said, “We need massive advocacy in behavioural change and we want the strengthening of the state structures responsible for policies to address the issue.”

The Speaker of the Parliament commended the Governor Godwin Obaseki led-administration for its developmental strides especially in the basic education sub-sector.