Executive Director/Founder, Hope for Second Chance Foundation (HOSEC), Ibukunoluwa Otesile, has decried that in spite of an avalanche of sensitisation campaigns, cases of violation of the rights of children in Nigeria are still rife.
Speaking on the occasion of this year’s International Day of the African Child, on Wednesday, Otesile bemoaned that cases of female genital mutilation, child sexual abuse, child marriage, child labour, parental neglect and deprivation of children’s right to quality education still abound.
Noting that the 2021 African child day commemoration was laden with mixed feelings, Otesile noted the need for stakeholders to include parents, government, influential persons, leaders of thought and children themselves to play their roles to end child rights violations.
This year’s event saw the Otesile-led HOSEC sensitise students of Humani Alaga High School, Sango, Ibadan, on protecting private parts of their bodies and objecting to any form of sexual abuse or molestation.
Upon running away from any form of sexual abuse, Otesile admonished female and male children alike to report to a trusted adult and be resolute on the prosecution of offenders.
The HOSEC founder warned that the consequences of keeping quiet and not speaking up were that the trend of child rights violations and violence will continue.
Rather than falling for sweet talks from ‘preys’, Otesile urged children to be focused, hardworking and firmly believe in their ability to achieve their dreams.
Otesile said: “We celebrate today with mixed feelings because there are still a lot of violations of the rights of children that we see in Nigeria despite all the efforts.
“Still we celebrate because it is important that we let these children know that they are important to us.
“Children are the guarantee of tomorrow so if we don’t protect them today, the truth is there is no tomorrow.
“As we celebrate this day of the African Child, I ask that whenever we see, hear or witness the violations of the rights of the child in our community, we should stand up and take action.
“We also call for an end to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Every child has the right to quality education; child marriage is a no; child sexual abuse is a no.
“We need to protect our children. Parental neglect is also a form of child abuse that we have to put an end to in our clime.
“Child labour is also a violation of the rights of the child. All stakeholders must come together to put an end to.
“Children must know that they can become anything they want to be; they need to believe in themselves if they put their heart to it, work hard at it, the sky will not be the limit.”
The sensitisation campaign to Humani Alaga High School also saw the HOSEC team donate sexual education materials to the students.
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