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Mayor Gibson proposes ban on street children

DECEMBER 4, 2014 By Matthew Jabby

Mayor Franklyn Bode Gibson of the Freetown City Council (FCC) yesterday proposed a ban on street children as part of measures to contain the Ebola virus disease in the city.

The Freetown municipality has recorded high Ebola infection rate in recent weeks, with current figures now above 1,300, surpassing Kailahun and Kenema which were initially the worst hit districts.

The FCC had proposed many measures in the past which either spectacularly failed or were rejected by the central government. Just last week, a ban on street trading on Fridays and Sundays was rejected by the central government after the proposal was criticized by many as daft.

However, Mayor Gibson told this reporter that the new measure is geared towards protecting street children.

Already, thousands of children have been affected by the outbreak, although no research has disaggregated which category of children are worst affected.

He said strategies should be put in place to address the issue of children parading the streets, although he did not elaborate on how council would carry out the measure.

Mayor Gibson maintained that in order to reduce the rate of Ebola infection among children, provisions in the Child Rights Act, which spells out the right of children, as well as reinforces decentralization of service and devolution of certain functions from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs to Local Councils, must be fully implemented.