Government and NGO Alliance for better Protection of Children from Child Abuse in Nigeria

The Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, and a group of non-governmental organisations have recently formed an alliance in a workshop to ensure better protection of children from child abuse in Nigeria.

Social workers from Terre des Hommes (TDH), Centre for Community and Youth Advocacy (CCYA), and the Street Child Foundation discussed with the leadership of Oshodi-Isolo LGA on how they could domesticate child protection laws enacted by the state government for implementation within
their communities.

According to the social workers, Oshodi community was one of the major places that children troop to in high numbers, adding that the protection of such children demanded topmost priority.

Mrs Olapeju Osoba, TDH’s head of country office, reviewed the various laws, policies and acts enacted at international, national and state levels, even as she impressed on local government authorities the need to imbibe the laws and domesticate them for their communities.

Mrs Olapeju Osoba said, “Making laws in Abuja or Alausa is not enough, if the local councils are not involved. That is why we should look at the existing child protection laws, and seek how the local councils would be brought on board in the implementation process, and how to get them involved in the child protection drive.”

Also, TDH’s advocacy and communication officer, Peter Olakunle, while addressing the team of political leaders and officials of the local government, said the parley was part of the Project for the Protection of Migrant Children along Abidjan-Lagos Corridor (CORAL).

Olakunle said, “The goal of the project was to rescue 25,000 children affected by migration. Migration of children is not only when they cross the borders. It also involves internal migration of children, trooping from places like Ogbomosho, northern part of the country into Lagos. Such children must be protected because every child, irrespective of place of birth, origin, sex, colour or religion, has the right to protection from discrimination.”

Chairman of Oshodi-Isolo LGA, Hon. Idris Bolaji Ariyoh, who was represented by the vice-chairman, Daisi Oso, thanked the NGOs for choosing to work with Oshodi-Isolo LGA. He further pledged total support to collaborations seeking to better protect children within the
local government.

Hon. Idris Bolaji Ariyoh said, “This meeting is timely because indeed Oshodi is a traction area, and many children wander into this neighbourhood seeking greener pastures. We must play our part to protect these children from randy men and abusers. Our job is to look at areas in the state’s laws to make better and effective as concerns Oshodi-Isolo.”

He further said, “We’ll set up a standing committee as stipulated in the state law to look into child protection activities. What we are doing would save the lives of many children in this generation, and generations yet unborn. And posterity would judge us.”

A child rights protection bill drafting committee was put together to deal with concerns bordering on child protection issues at the customary courts in the local government.

The committee, which was made up of social workers and local government authorities, is also saddled with the responsibility to ensure the inclusion of a budget line for child protection in the local government’s annual budget.

Enthralled at the outcome of the workshop, Osoba praised the authorities for their show of concern and activeness in ensuring the protection of children. She called on other local governments within Lagos State to borrow a leaf from Oshodi-Isolo LGA.

Osoba said, “We appreciate your attention and open door policy to us. It has been difficult getting local government councils to support us. But Oshodi-Isolo has been very receptive and responsive to us.”

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