By Justina Auta
Some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have called for safe environment and imparting of sexual education on children to protect them from security threats and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
The groups made the call while commemorating International day of African child, organised by Comfort Stream Aid foundation (CSAF), in collaboration with Supporting Hands Initiative (SHI) and Wave Foundation in Mararaba, Nasarawa state.
Mrs Bassey Ita-Ikpang, Coordinator, SHI, said the growing security challenges and SGBV on children, necessitated the need to educate children on their rights and precautionary measures to keep themselves safe.
“Considering the events playing out in our society, it is very important for children to be aware of their rights.
“To know the basic things that affect them and who or where they should go for help.
“This form of education is vital and it is in line with the 10-point agenda of the African children charter.
“It has also stated the need for the African child to live in an environment that is safe and developmental.
“An environment that supports the child to be what he or she wants to be and this is what we intend to achieve.
“We have to let them know the appropriate behaviour per time and should be able to speak up when anyone tries to take advantage of them.
“This is why we visited this school today.
“When talking about sex education, people seem not to be interested.
“The truth is that it is a very important topic that needs to be discussed especially, with children considering the level of abuse we hear and see in our society today,” she said.
Similarly, Mrs Theresa Anthony, a Counseling Psychologist and Founder, CSAF, said the child charter was created for the African continent to be safe and protective for every African child.
“As adults in the African continent and in Nigeria, we are responsible to inculcate the right morals and teachings by way of correcting them because we love and want them to grow and have the life they deserve.
“As a child, it is also our responsibility as adults to protect and guide you.
“To enable you live a better life, these are your rights as described in the constitution, as you have the right to survival, to live, grow, and develop.”
Anthony advised the students to speak out against bullies as they have the right to freedom from discrimination as well as the right to expression which should protect them from inhuman treatment.
Dr Ejike Oji, Chairman, Management Committee Association for the advancement of family planning, reiterated the need for children to know when to draw the line between family bonding and molestation.
“Nothing is wrong when family lean on each other but when these persons begin to touch their private parts, this is when it should be prohibited and be seen as a danger sign.
“This should be stopped from the very beginning,” he said.
Oji, who adopted one of the children in the vicinity upon hearing she was an orphan and could not afford her school fees, lamented the high rate of out of school children in Nigeria.
“If 1,000 persons pick one child alone to cater for, it will go a long way in reducing this huge number as well help the children to achieve greatness.
“In as much as we want to help, there is also a reason for parents to use family planning to give birth to children that will be easily catered for, considering the economy,” he said.
On her part, Mrs Ladi Bala, National President, National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), called on the government to provide for the children and curb the rate of kidnapping in schools. (NAN)