From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Worried by the rampant cases of child battering, the wife of Anambra State governor, Ebelechukwu Obiano, has called for conscious efforts towards respecting the rights of children.
She criticised the spate of physical violence against children and called on parents and stakeholders to pay more attention to the issue, which she said was getting out of hand.
This, she said, was to help in the prevention of the evil practice, adding that parents and stakeholders were the closest to the average child.
The first lady and founder of the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), insisted that the issue of physical violence against children must stop, especially in the state.
She decried a situation where parents abandon their first responsibility of taking care of their children to face the pursuit of money and career, thereby leaving the children at the mercy of others.
“It has become increasingly clear that some parents often ignore or unwittingly aid the perpetration of physical violence against children in their daily pursuit of means of survival.
“We are all legally and morally bound to take immediate steps to prevent this trend, which is a major impediment to proper upbringing and development of the child. I understand that it is said, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child,’ but that does not excuse the physical harm and battering of children we see these days,” she said.
Mrs Obiano’s CAFÉ is a non-governmental organization, which amongst other programmes, advocates for the wellbeing of the whole family, especially children.
She noted that children should be shown love so as to inculcate in them love for others, adding that this way the culture of hate that is gradually creeping into the society would be curtailed and brought to the minimal level.
According to the governor’s wife, “a situation where six out of every 10 children experience some form of violence, according to the Nigerian violence against children survey by the National Population Commission, UNICEF and Centre for Disease Control, is not acceptable and I call on all levels of government and agencies to step-up monitoring.”
She, however, commended the Anambra State government for the progress made towards the domestication of the Child Rights Act, stressing that the law would go a long way in assisting the prevention and prosecution of those who engage in physical violence against children.