End Violence Against Children Campaign Gets Mrs. Ayade Support

Wife of Cross River State Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Linda Ayade has pledged to do all within her power as wife of the Governor to support the _ ght to end Violence Against Children (VAC) especially in Cross River State. Dr. Ayade made the pledge recently when some members of the United Nation Children Education Fund (UNICEF) led by the Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Enugu Field O_ ce, Nkiru Maduechesi and a team from the Ministry of Women A_ airs paid her a visit in her o_ ce. _ e Governor’s wife expressed gratitude to them the visit to discuss issues that bother on violence against children with particular reference to children in CRS, which she acknowledged as real and existing in the state from statistics/indicators, among others. According to her, “it is a real shame and actually we should bury our heads in shame to allow things like these to happen here in our society. I know a lot have been happening to children; abuse in different forms but when you begin to hear of individual cases and occurrence, that is when the hair on your body begins to stand”.

Mrs Ayade noted that the problems are multifaceted with enormous bottlenecks, coming from different angles which the UNICEF Child Specialist touched in her power point presentation and that the problems are such that when one tries to solve a particular aspect of it, another one surfaces. She maintained that it is not a one-man fight nor something one can handle alone and that these are issues she has been trying to look at with members of her team in her Mediatrix Development Foundation, trying to see how they can put a permanent running facility responsible for child protection in the state. The governor’s wife further stated that “we are the architects of our problems”, noting that the people who are responsible for things to happen in their offices do not take them seriously and they sometimes give up easily without efforts to see that these things have been taken care of, thereby failing in their responsibilities, for one person cannot go to the police, court, as well as families to get things done rightly, adding that, the main issue is the orientation of Nigerians, for if they are properly oriented all the efforts put in towards ending violence against children will yield results for she believes in talking and achieving results as well as sustaining it, while calling on Nigerians and Cross Riverians in particular to change their orientation on issues that require serious attention like violence against children among others, Dr. Ayade said that they have tried to do advocacy in Cross River Broadcasting Corporation and in the rural areas whenever they meet with women.

She therefore opined that there is need for the state to have a good running system in place where every citizen of CRS is aware that if anyone is abused, exploited as well as abandoned, such a person can get all the necessary attention and legal right one deserves, as well as have a political action while promising that if it requires putting pressure on her husband Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade to put infrastructure in places that are lacking in order to assist child protection officers to do their work effectively, she would push for it and thanked them for their visit and presentation. Also Speaking the child protection Specialist, UNICEF Enugu Field Office, Nkiru Maduechesi expressed appreciation on behalf of her colleagues and children of CRS for meeting and for the good works in the state through her NGO especially in advocating for the right of the child and sensitizing the public on violence against children. She was impressed that in Dr. Linda Ayade they have a champion as well as a voice in the state. According to her, VAC is one issue at the heart of human existence which is often neglected and that is why there is need to prevent and respond to issues of violence, exploitation and child abuse in the state for children are the bedrock of the society, adding that, the effect of such violence is very enduring and affects the potential of the child as a human being, hence the reason for the constitution and other development frame works recognizing vulnerable population especially child protection as one objective of the government. She maintained that with the discussion and attention given to them by the wife of the Governor, priority will be given to the child protection issues in the state since she will convey the message to her husband, the state Governor.

She disclosed that CRS is the leading state in Nigeria with 90% violent child discipline method, where people think the only form of discipline is by violence and that the worst severe form is also on the increase especially among children living without their biological parents, with CRS having 11.9% which is the second to the highest in Nigeria and that CRS is also having a high number in child Labour with 64% of children living on the streets, who are not in school and that it is a well-known fact in Nigeria that children in Cross River State are commonly used in child Labour which is not good enough. Speaking on how to end VAC, she said that there is need to scale-up ongoing efforts on VAC prevention and invest in wider community stake holders so as to reach traditional institution on VAC prevention and response; facilitate high level advocacy to get the attention of the state Governor on the issue of VAC and implementation of priority action to address VAC. Pointing out that UNICEF cannot fund everything, they therefore need CRS government to support some of the interventions; urgent budgetary allocation and timely release of child protection services in key Ministries like Social Welfare, Women Affairs, Health and Education, among others

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