Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Child Abuse: Children should not be traded as commodities – Gov Udom

The 2015 Sensitisation Campaign against Child Abuse, Child Trafficking, Child Labour, Child Abandonment and Baby Factory has been flagged-off by the State Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, with a call on all and sundry to join in the fight to stem the tide, by fighting shoulder to shoulder. Performing the ceremony in the Council Hall of Eket Local Government Area and Headquarters of Eket Federal Constituency, the Governor condemned in totality the abuse of children in whatever form, describing it as a grave offence, not just against children, but a crime against humanity.

Represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, the Governor, while commending the State Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Welfare for embarking on the Sensitisation Campaign, expressed the optimism the effort will bring about a rebirth and a re-orientation, describing the theme, “The Rights of a Child: A Collective Responsibility” as very apt, considering that the fight is multi-sectoral.
The Governor, wondering why children, who are special gifts from God, should be traded as commodities, said such illegal activities are in sharp contrasts with the beliefs, norms and culture of Akwa Ibom people, urging the people to spare no effort in the fight against such menace.
Mr. Udom, therefore, warned all perpetrators of these heinous crimes to desist forthwith, or face the full wrath of the law in accordance with the Child Rights Law, which he reminded all, was in full implementation in the State.
Earlier in her address, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs & Social Welfare, Dr. Glory Emmanuel Edet, while expressing deep appreciation to the State Government for the many angles from which it was tackling child abuse  and for adopting Child Right s Law as a legal instrument for enforcement against anyone who abuses a child, in whatever form.
Dr. Edet described as very sad the fact that despite various efforts by Government to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of a child, children were still being abused, abandoned by parents/guardians and even trafficked.
While soliciting the support of all, the Commissioner said that in line with the theme, it behoved on all to join in the fight, with a view to protecting children from anything that will militate against their safety, survival or rights, in order to maximize their potentials of growing to becoming good and useful citizens.
The Commissioner, while calling on parents/guardians to ensure that they utilized the opportunity offered by the Free & Compulsory Education Policy of the State Government by sending their children/wards to school, said every form of child maltreatment had to stop, if the State must be among the comity of nations that respect and protect the rights of children, also emphasizing the fact that everybody has a responsibility – parents/guardians, community, church, school and, even children themselves – in the fight against the menace.
Also speaking through the Member representing Okobo State Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Mrs. Felicia Bassey, the Speaker, Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, Mr. Aniekan Uko, while reiterating the need for parents/guardians to respect the rights of their children/wards, called on all to fear God, saying no God fearing person would indulge in these illegal activities against children.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Transition Chairman of Eket Local Government, Mr. Francis Archibong, lent his voice in condemning child abuse in whatever form, while pledging his Administration’s readiness to join in the fight.
Also, the Speaker, Akwa Ibom Children Parliament, Master Setoyoabasi-Diamond Umana, gave out a passionate plea to parents/guardians and the society to respect the rights of children and stop abusing them, while pledging to carry out their own responsibilities, as children.
There were Paper Presentations on the “Rights and Responsibilities of a Child” and “The Effects of Child Abuse, Child Trafficking, Child Labour, Child Abandonment, Baby Factory, etc”, taken by the Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Barr. Emmah Udonsek and a retired Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Welfare, Mrs. Bassey Esshiet respectively.
From there, the Campaign Train moved to the Council Hall of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area to sensitise the people of Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency and, thereafter, to all the ten Federal Constituencies of the State, with campaign materials which included: Highlights of the Child Rights Law, Almanac and fliers, to distribute to participants drawn from  church leaders, traditional institution, women and youth groups.

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