The Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mrs. Folashade Jaji, has been presented with an Excellence Award as an Ambassador for the Prevention of Child Abuse by The Young Muslims Association (TYMa), just as she warned against all forms of child abuse either by the parents, guardians, teachers, caregivers or members of the society.

The SSG, who gave the warning during the presentation of the award to her at the Secretariat, Alausa, on Friday, stressed that the State Government is determined to ensure that anyone found guilty of abusing children will be made to face the Law.

She said, “The children represent the future of our dear Lagos State and, indeed, Nigeria. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu recognises the priority of children’s issue in the State’s political and socio-economic development agenda and has instituted policies and programmes to ensure their adequate protection”.

“The First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has also been championing advocacy for the protection of children with the support of members of the State Executive Council, Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials and others”, the SSG added.

Mrs. Jaji disclosed that Lagos was the first to respond to the call for action in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Year of Action to End Violence Against Children, adding that, consequently, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) developed State-Specific Priority Actions across all the key sectors relevant to child protection.

She continued that Lagos State Government is also collaborating with Non-Government Organisations, religious and traditional leaders, the media, as well as Government Ministries and Agencies such as Education, Health, Justice, Youth and Social Development and the Judiciary to ensure that children are protected.

According to her, Lagos State Government was the first to domesticate the Child Rights Act, which is presently being amended to suit the current situation in order for the children to realise their dreams.

She said laws and policies have also been initiated to prevent and respond to cases of child abuse and violence, apart from the establishment of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team.

In her words: “It’s important that we nurture our children and give them the right values. They are not to be abused but loved, cared for, educated and be guided in the way of God so that they too will have the fear of God in them”.

While urging the Police, Courts, Civil Society and the Media to join in ending child abuse, Jaji advised children not to stay in secluded areas in order to prevent violators of youths from taking advantage of them.

The SSG also appreciated TYMa for the award, while commending various organisations across the State for advocating the prevention of child abuse in Lagos.

Ayomide Oyewole

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