The Edo State Government has urged parents to take advantage of the administration’s policies on free education and skill acquisition programmes to check the menace of children roaming the streets.
During an event organized by Edo State Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, to mark the International Day for Street Children, in Benin City, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Dorcas Idehen, said the state government has put in place policies to support children to realise their fullest potential.
Idehen noted, “We are here to cry out against the ills of children living on the streets. We are joining our counterparts all over the world to say no to children living on the streets. It is sad that instead of our children living with their parents, guardians and under the shelter of their homes, they live on the streets and parks and sleep there too.”
“We are using this opportunity to tell the street children to unite with their parents, caregivers and guardians. We also urge our parents to look out for their children wherever they are and bring them home so that they can embrace the opportunities that the government has put in place for them,” she said.
According to her, “We have free education and if they cannot pursue the formal education, we have the skill acquisition centre and the technical and vocational college which the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has spent a lot of money to revamp to educate and empower these children so that they can be self-reliant and be useful to themselves and the society.
The Director, Child Development Department, Dr. Patience Uyigue, noted the street walk was carried out to sensitise members of the public on the plight of children on the streets.
She said, “We want to lend our voices with the voices of others across the globe to reserve the impact of COVID-19 on the children and also to let them know like other children that they have access to essential services provided by the government such as education, health services, clothing, food and other services that will improve their wellbeing and make their lives a healthy life, so that they can reach their full potentials.”
According to the Director, “living the children on the streets exposes them to so many hazards; they are vulnerable to ritualists, cultism, armed robbery and all forms of social vices, which in turn will fall back on the innocent citizens of the state.”