The Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has charged children in the state to be alive to their roles and responsibilities to their parents, family, community peers and the society at large.
The governor gave the charge at the occasion of the commemoration of the Day of the African Child, held at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba,
Okowa, who was represented urged by his deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, urged children in the state to report all cases of violence against them to the appropriate authorities closer to them.
The governor explained that the 16th of June annually was set aside in memory of the 1976 pupils’ uprising in Soweto, South Africa to remember the children, especially those killed in cold blood; to celebrate children in Africa.
According to him, the day was to inspire a sober reflection and action towards addressing the huge challenges that children in African face on daily basis., adding that the day was to ventilate on issues concerning the welfare and general wellbeing of the African child.
He added that the commemoration provides opportunity for government bodies, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to give increase support to campaign and raise the awareness level of all stakeholders about the consequences and positive effects of ending conflicts and crises that affect children in Africa.
Governor Okowa while noting that the theme for the celebration, “African Child is Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Right First”, said that it was most appropriate because of myriad conflicts and crises across the African continent.
He pointed out that humanitarian crises result from various factors or events, including natural disaster, man-made bloodletting resulting from armed conflicts, tension or human actions often lead to violations of children’s rights as a result of conditions, which made them vulnerable.
“These violations include non-provision of education, health or an adequate standard of living for children to enjoy their rights. The effect of these violation may affect boys and girls differently. Children in vulnerable situations suffer most from these crises,” he stated.
He emphasised that the day’s event was part of global efforts to elevate child protection agenda in conflict situations, including the guarantee of the protection and preservation of the lives and wellbeing of the child, arguing that the children were our hope, insurance and every country’s most valuable assets.
He called on all parents, guardians and concerned authorities to take note and show love, care, attention, protection and support to all children, explaining that they were the future.
The governor revealed that the state government had enacted a law on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to ensure that all children were protected at all times and that the state government was also committed to the protection and welfare of the children.
Earlier in an address delivered by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mrs G. A Puegeren, commended Governor Okowa for his efforts at creating an enabling environment for the ministry to perform her role for the overall benefit of children in the state.
While appealing to humanitarian workers and the entire public to respect children’s right in all circumstances, she reiterated the resolve of the ministry, to continually champion policies and programmes aimed at promoting children’s rights and that of other vulnerable persons in our society.
The President of the Area Customary Court, Asaba and the Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Mrs Lauretta Oki-Omezi, who delivered the only lecture of the day on the theme, called on schools to programme to report any case of violence against children to the appropriate agencies of government.
High points of the event include drama presentation by some of the invited schools, while students from the Infant Jesus Academy thrilled the audience to classical music.
Present, were the Senor Political Adviser to the State Governor on Political, Rt Hon. Solomon Funkekeme, permanent secretaries, and top government functionaries.