By Justina Auta
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has cautioned parents against giving out their children as domestic helpers or for adoption.
Kennedy-Ohanenye gave the warning on Tuesday, at a new year party to celebrate school children and to encourage them on the path to greatness in Abuja.
According to her, the warning is necessary to avoid cases of child molestation, domestic abuse and other forms of abuse.
The minister said that the adoption of children should be within the confines of the law and closely monitored to ensure they were not molested or abused.
She added that parents had the duty of protecting children from all forms of abuse and harmfulness practices by providing safe spaces for their growth and development.
“The adoption of children is no more the way it used to be, narratives are being changed, you can’t adopt a Nigerian child and whisk the child away to overseas and do what you like.
“I urge parents, don’t have children you can’t train, these are some of the reasons these children are suffering.
“It is unfair and very bad that you have children you cannot train and subject them to so many sufferings,” she said.
According to the minister, some parents give out their children to help others but they don’t look out to know if the child is okay or not.
“These children are loved by Nigerians and we don’t want them to be treated anyhow anymore.
“So, even the teachers should take note, ask the child questions and report back because the teachers are already aware that when you maltreat a child, it is a crime.
“We have mobile courts to report those that have molest or defile these children,” she said.
On the issue of house helps, the minister emphasised that they must be of age and should not be maltreated under any circumstance.
Also, Rep Kafilat Ogbara, House Committee Chair on Women Affairs, noted that children were the future of every nation, so their role in nation building must be understood.
“As children, students and Nigerians, you also have a role to play in nation building.
“Don’t see yourselves as just children who enjoy life, sleep, wake up, eat, play and go to school. You have to start building yourselves as leaders.
“I urge you to remain prayerful, obedient and serious with your studies. Know that there is no achievement you cannot reach in this life.
She urged children not to let anyone restrict them to believing that there is a ‘no go area’ for them.
Also speaking, Asmau Muhammed-Ignamus, Gombe state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, stressed that the Child Rights Act would ensure their rights and dignity were protected.
According to her, Gombe state government has already adopted the Act to protect children in the state. (NAN)
Edited by Mark Longyen/Isaac Aregbesola