By John Kayode
Wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, on Tuesday, urged education stakeholders to ensure protection of students in the state through the understanding of Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.
Anyanwu-Akeredolu said this at the end of a two-day meeting on child protection and safeguarding policy, as part of efforts to deepen the implementation of
Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Law.
The governor’s wife, who was represented by Special Adviser to the Governor on Gender, Mrs Olamide Falana, said the event was another step towards achieving zero tolerance for all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in the state.
According to her, the programme, WFD is supporting OSAA-GBV in the process of Implementing VAPP Law in Schools in the State.
“You will all agree with me that Ondo State has never rested in its pursuit of a totally safe society.
“This is evident in the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law 2021(VAPP 2021) and the subsequent establishment of Ondo State Agency Against Gender Based Violence (OSAA-GBV).
“The agency, as an arm of government, is armed with the power and political backing required to work effectively and it has a chairman on its board,” she said.
Anyanwu-Akeredolu also noted that training had been conducted for first-line responders, such as medical officers, security operatives and legal officers, on the use of VAPP law as a tool for prosecution of cases rather than the use of criminal code “which is an old order.”
Also, the Executive Secretary, OSAA-GBV, Barr. Bolanle Afolabi, said it was the statutory responsibility of government and stakeholders in education sector to create an environment where students were respected and valued.
Afolabi said that stakeholders must be on high alert to the signs of abuse and neglect to take appropriate measures to ensure that children received effective support, protection and justice.
“Children in both primary and secondary schools in the state should be able to grow up in circumstances consistent with safe and effective nurturing care.
“School staffers must undertake roles that will enable children have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.
“Research suggests that more than 10 per cent of children will suffer some form of abuse due to their day-to-day interactions with their classmates and other children.
“Such children may suffer abuses ranging from physical, sexual, financial, material or discriminatory and many more.
“It is, therefore, vital that schools’ staffers are alert to the signs of neglect and abuse among the children and also understand the procedures for reporting and acting upon their concerns,” she said.
Also speaking, the Country Director of WFD Nigeria, Similarly, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, said he was happy that the concerned youths were present at the programme, stressing that this was also a way of making the VAPP law inclusive.
Adebowale said taking the campaign to schools would ensure that some of the abuses being experienced in schools were dealt with accordingly. (NAN)