The Fundacion Exito, an advocacy group, has urged the federal and state governments to address bullying, cultism and other deviant acts in schools across the country.
This follows reported cases of violence and abuse of students leading to deaths in some schools.
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The Director, Fundacion Exito, Dominic Obozuwa; and the President, Sam Obafemi Behavioural Change Academy (SOBCA), Sam Obafemi, made the call on Thursday in Abuja at a news conference.
Obozuwa said that the Child Rights Act should be domesticated by all the states and also implemented to the later to protect the Nigerian child.
He said that the safety of children should be guaranteed in schools and wherever they may be.
“The Federal Government should ensure that every state domesticates the Child Rights Act. The government should work with civil society organizations and ensure that the Act is implemented.
“Violence against children should be a national emergency, especially in schools. Any school where a child is abused should be shut down and parents must wake up to their responsibility,” he said.
He also said that justice must be done in the case of a student of Dowen College, Lagos, 12-year old Sylvester Oromoni, and 14-year old Keren-Happuch Akpagher, a student of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, who both died in controversial circumstances, among others.
While Keren was subjected to an alleged abuse that complicated her health, and subsequently led to her death, Sylvester was allegedly bullied by senior students which led to his death.
He lamented that no single person had been prosecuted or convicted for perpetrating violence against children despite media reports of schoolchildren’s deaths.
There was also the case of Hanifa Abubakar, a five-year-old pupil killed, after her abduction by Abdulmalik Tanko, the proprietor of her school, Noble Kids Nursery and Primary School, Kawana, Kano.
He said, “Justice must be done with respect to those cases. There should be no sacred cows regardless of who owns the schools.”
Obafemi on his part urged parents to befriend their children to prevent them from getting caught in a cycle of bullying, cultism and violence or seeking wrong advice from their peers.
He said, “Parents should build up their children’s emotional skills and schools should be a value orientation center and not a profit center. The children should be able to freely talk with their parents, so that they can be guided or protected in case they are being molested or harassed.”
Their address was coming moments after Fundacion Exito Ltd hosted a webinar on how to stop violence against children in Nigeria.
The Director, Living Waters Educational Services, Emily Ajisebutu, was the keynote speaker at the seminar.
Other speakers include Pastor Tosin Martins of The Franchise Church, Funmi Ogbue; founder and Managing Director of Zigma Limited, Samuel Obafemi of Sam Obafemi Behaviourial Change Academy, Ogechi Abu of Banwo & Ighodalo, while a leadership coach, Ofi Ejembi hosted the event.
Obozuwa said the key demands of participants after the webinar include, that the rights of every child must be protected. The Child Rights Act needs to be domesticated in all states and implemented.
That the Act needs to be more elaborate. It needs to be on the exclusive legislative list.
“We must treat violence against children as a national emergency which is why the theme of the webinar is #StateofViolenceVAC: Creating the future, every child matters.
“The federal government needs to declare a state of emergency concerning violence against children, especially in schools; parents must wake up to their responsibilities. Our exhaustive research indicates that most deviant kids are from wealthy homes.
“Government must provide a safe environment for kids, with more focus on schools. Schools that are found wanting where a child is abused, should also be shut down. 5. Schools must create a safe environment for kids. Schools that can’t create a safe environment for students need to be shut down,” he added.