Akpabio Condemns Violence Against Children

By Akwa Ibom State Govt House Press Centre

Governor Godswill Akpabio has identified timidity, low self-image and lack of courage as the negative effects of violence against Nigerian children.

Governor Godswill Akpabio, who gave Tuesday during this year’s Children and Youth Day Celebrations on the theme, Violence against children: Addressing the challenges, held at Uyo Township Stadium, remarked, "Such was the lot of the Akwa Ibom Child in the past, as many suffered violence in the cause of serving as house helps in different parts of the country.

They were subjected to abuse in spite of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child which provides

for every child the inalienable rights to education, and survival, to develop to the fullest, to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation.

According to him, "I consider the theme of this year’s Children’s Day, which is apt and timely. Every child is a seed and must be nurtured to bear the expected fruit. However, research has it that in every country children suffer and experience violence, and this cuts across culture, class, education, tribe and religion. Violence against children may take the form of insults, humiliation, discrimination, neglect and maltreatment - which has devastating consequences on children health, well-being and overall performance. …”

"The Akwa Ibom Child was known in some parts of our nation as good house keepers and house helps, so in 2007, when I assumed office as your Governor, I promised that the lives of Akwa Ibom children can

never be the same. I promised that the Akwa Ibom child will no longer be known as a fetcher of wood and drawer of water for others in our Nation.

.....I determined that the Akwa Ibom child must have the platform to develop his talent and exhibit his God given potentials. Today, the Akwa Ibom child has surmounted the challenge of violence and abuse because we have given him the wings to rise to any altitude through the free and compulsory education, the free medical care for children and other child related policies and programmes of this administration.

"With the free and compulsory Education programme, we disbanded the house-help industry and ended child prostitution and child servitude. We moved further to sign the Child Rights Law, which makes it a criminal offence for anyone to force a child into child labour rather than send him or her to school or to stigmatize a child. In the Akwa Ibom of today, you do not have to be rich to attain your full potential.

....We know that God has deposited something in every child, and that it is through education that the child will be able to maximize and attain his or her full potential. I believe one of the greatest legacies we will leave behind as a Government is our achievement in the education sector", the governor stated.

Akpabio assured that the government was committed and determined to ensuring freedom every child from violence and abuse, charging that “you to ensure that while government meets its responsibilities, you on your part must endeavour to reciprocate that gesture by taking your studies seriously, shun cultism and other vices.

"My dear children, we have come together to celebrate you in this Children’s Day Celebration. But our celebration of our children this year is particularly gladdening because we have in the last eight years given hope to Akwa Ibom dream and restore the pride of every Akwa Ibom Child. We have come fulfilled that the Akwa Ibom child can stand tall in the midst of other children in the world", the governor maintained.

He then described the health of Akwa Ibom children as important, saying that ‘’while the government work to improve the living standards of the people through employment generation and wealth creation, because health is wealth’’.