Kogi To Reinforce Guidance & Counseling In Schools To Curb Violence Against Children

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The Kogi state government has pledged to reinforce the Guidance & Counseling Department in schools to boost the fight to end violence against children in the state.

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Wemi Jones, stated this when a coalition of NGOs, the Rehoboth Community Advancement Initiative (RECAN), led by its Executive Director, Mr Abaniwo Nathaniel, paid him a visit on Wednesday in Lokoja.

The commissioner noted that in the very recent past, there had been an increased incidence of child abuse and molestation, especially against the girl-child, saying it was quite worrisome and totally unacceptable.

”At the ministry, we have a role to play because most of the girls are always in our custody, especially during school hours.

”The takeaway from this meeting is that, there are already measures in place to ensure that this ugly incident does not happen.

“As ministry, we will reinforce those measures and introduce new ones through the provision of amenities that will discourage such incidence in schoools, through reinforcement of Guidance and Counseling section and other measures,” he said.

According to him, the guidance and counseling unit will help children discover and develop their educational, vocational, and psychological potentialities to achieve an optimal level of personal happiness and social usefulness.

“So, we will do everything possible to ensure the safety of of our children; we will make sure that girl child is well protected,” Jones added.

The commissioner enjoined parents not to be afraid of stigmatisation but to speak out and come forward to report any form of molestations against their children.

”When we don’t have the reports of such cases, it is difficult to plan against them. ”

“An animal is always an animal, a man that defiles a two-year old girl is an animal and he is not fit to live.

”We urge parents not to be afraid of stigmatisation, but to report cases of molestations against their children so we can ensure that those perpetrators pay the full price for their conduct.

”When such happens, it will be a deterrent to future occurrences,” the commissioner said.

He said that reported case of molestation would enable the ministry to look at the possible cause of such molestation and address it from the root to avoid reoccurrence

”So, parents who suspect or have evidence that their children have been molested should not keep it, but to come out openly and talk boldy about it to us through the Guidance and Counseling department in various schools.

”We are building the capacity of our teachers in a very large scale; we must ensure that learners are confined in a safe and secured environment for learning.

”Kogi ministry of education is open to specific collaborations with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety of our children; we will do everything possible to support our children”, the commissioner restated.

Earlier, Nathaniel, the Executive Director of RECAN, noted that the team is coalition of NGOs involved in a campaign tagged: ”End Violence Against Children (EVAC)” and decided to pay advocacy visit to the commissioner.

Nathaniel said,”Thehe key issues we brought to the commissioner is the Multi-Sectoral Response of EVAC documents a survey done in 2014 and put together to ensure that every MDA has its responses, and know the priority areas to focus in addressing violence against children in Kogi State.

”The area of focus of the education ministry has to do with bringing education very close to children and also to prevent violence against children in schools.

”One of the gaps we have seen in schools is the absence of data to support what we are doing today, which has made our work to be very difficult.

”Though there are reported cases but they are not reaching the right place where those cases could be effectively handled and resolved, to the interest of the children.

”So, we want a Multi-sectoral response to ending violence against children in Kogi state, and the ministry of education will play a vital role.

”We have over 60 NGOs under this group in collaboration with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the fight to ending violence against children in Kogi state,” Nathaniel said.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Pastor Emmanuel Idenyi, commended the group for the advocacy visit.

He assured the group that the ministry would continue to partner with relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety of every school child.

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