Day of the African Child: Orphans, vulnerable children NGOs ask for Oyo government’s commitment

As part of efforts to commemorate this year’s Day of the African Child, the Association of Orphans and Vulnerable Children NGOs in Nigeria (AONN), Oyo State chapter on Sunday asked the Oyo State Government and other stakeholders should to publicly reaffirm commitments to issues and preventive measures to avoid humanitarian situations which lead to the violation of the rights of the child.

Speaking on behalf of the association at a media briefing on Sunday, Pastor Marcus Williams, the coordinator of the association, stated that AONN, a network of NGOs working on children wellbeing in Nigeria is a registered body with the Corporate Affairs Commission and the relevant federal ministries in the country, adding that being a child-focused NGO Network, it seeks to commemorate the day of the African Child through the conference in order to draw attention to the rights of children and access to humanitarian response.

According to him, as a body that has membership in 33 LGAs in the Oyo State as well as in the newly created LCDAs, it wants the Oyo state government to prioritise based on the national priority agenda, the protection and promotion of children’s rights during humanitarian emergencies as a key to achieving the desired outcome of Aspirations 7 and 9 of Agenda 2040 and the broader Agenda 2063 and also develop strategies that indicate the steps taken to ensure that the best interests of the child, especially children with disabilities are upheld in humanitarian crises.

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It asked further that in instances of child abuse, the government should facilitate report by creating an enabling environment for child abuse responders with appropriate mechanisms in place to ensure that the rights of children to justice, health, education and a conducive environment are offered to the children who have been affected.

AONN also asked government to facilitate an enabling environment that will ensure that perpetrators of violations of physical abuse against children are brought to justice via the existence of a functional family court and develop and implement state and local strategies to prevent humanitarian emergencies, reduce school dropouts eliminate gender-based violence concerns around children and where there exist, take steps to ensure that the protection of the rights of children is prioritised.

The body also asked government to regularly undertake consultative voluntary state and local reviews at all levels to monitor the protection of the rights of children under humanitarian and non-humanitarian instances and make concerted efforts to ensure issues surrounding the well-being and protection of children are re-evaluated to pave ways for new approaches, children-friendly policies and laws that will bring about better services for children in Oyo State.

“We want to use this medium to appreciate the Oyo State Government for prioritizing education and children welfare in the State. The Ministry of Women Affairs in the state has been doing great work in ensuring the rights of children generally are protected. We also want to appeal to the government to do more in ensuring that laws that protect the rights of children are enforced and the populace sensitized on existing laws with emphasis on penalties when the rights of children are trampled upon.

“It is the duty of the government to protect and fulfil the rights of children but the roles of the private sector cannot also be overemphasized. Hence, we want them to reinforce government efforts by contributing their own quota to the overall development of children in Oyo State,” AONN stated.