As Ondo State joined other states across the Federation to celebrate this year’s Children’s Day, the Ondo state Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has reiterated his commitment towards protecting Child Rights by investing in the future- in the state.
Mimiko, who made this disclosure at the 2016 National Children’s Day celebration on Friday in Akure, said the celebration has focused on ensuring adequate protection for all children everywhere they are, stating that child marriage is a form of sexual molestation of the girl child.
The National theme for this year’s celebration: “Protect the rights of the Child in the face of Violence and Insecurity: End Child Marriage.” was chosen to ensuring adequate protection of children.
In his address, Dr Mimiko said the issue of sexual abuse of the Girl Child has become a major concern to many stakeholders, and that informed Ondo state government’s decision to remodify the national theme to “Protect the Rights of Children in the face of Violence and Insecurity: End Sexual molestation of the Girl/Boy Child” to address the issue in the state.
He noted that his administration has placed high priority towards investing in children, stressing that it is the greatest investment any government can make, he hammered on the necessity of adequately protecting every child’s right and the he frowns at the molestation of children and girl child marriage which is rampant in the country and vows that the government will continue to establish the law and protection of every child’s right in the state.
He said, “As a government, we shall continue to promote and empower the various establishments by law. That is why we have focused more on a better learning and healthy environment with the provision of Mega schools, free shuttle scheme, Abiye (Safe Motherhood) programme and lots more.”
He also pointed out his concern for Girl Child marriage because of its relevance beyond the state, stating that his administration has rolled out programmes towards educating the society about child molestation.
“The second phase of this celebration will take place next week at the International Event Centre, this is when we will be able to have a robust interaction with these children, in terms of sensitizing them to the issues of molestation, especially sexual abuse.” Mimiko said.
Speaking as a Medical practitioner, Dr. Mimiko said child marriage can lead to physical and physiological damages to the girl child, citing Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), Rectovaginal Fistula and other reproductive health challenges it can pose to children.
“Vesico Vaginal Fistula, this is a force linkage between the vesicles which is the bladder and the urine, because the pelvis of the child is not well-developed and carries pregnancy,” causing a “physical damage that creates a hole between the bladder and the vagina, there could be Rectovaginal Fistula.” He added.
The governor advised stakeholders including parents, families, religious bodies, and the general public to spend “quality time” with their children and instill moral values in them. He also urged them to be conscious of the rights of their children, adding that they are their future, pride and heritage that God has given unto them.