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As Day of the African Child observed today…

NCC Commissioner calls for protection of children

June 16, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Sierra Leone will today (16 June) join other countries across Africa to observe this year’s Day of the African Child on the theme: “Protecting Children During Periods of Crisis”.

The day, 16 June, has been celebrated every year since 1991 when it was first declared by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to honour those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 in  South Africa. About 575 people died during students uprising and among the reported death were 451 as a result of direct Police action, while some 2387 people sustained severe injuries.

During an interview at her Adelaide Street office, Commissioner of the National Commission for Children (NCC), Olayinka Laggah spoke about the urgent need to have a system in place for the protection of children, especially during periods of crisis.

As the country braces itself for heavy downpour of rain this year, Madam Laggah says she want relevant stakeholders to ensure that something is in place to protect children, adding that such protection should start from the family level.

According to her, crisis could come in different forms, citing disaster and water, and that during crisis moments, families do not always protect their children.

“Let us have system in place to protect our children whenever there is a crisis moment. We will be putting out a press release drawing the attention of key stakeholders on the issue. We know what happened during the flooding last year. There was no system in place to protect children even though at the latter part agencies came on board to help,” she said.

She claimed that as at now, there is no disaster management plan to protect children, especially during crises.

With regards this year’s Day of the African Child, the NCC Commissioner disclosed that in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, a children’s conference will be hosted simultaneously across the country.

She stated that the conference will speak to the theme: “Protecting children during periods of crisis”, with children having the opportunity to present their issues and proffer recommendations on what they think should be the way forward in a communiqué.”

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