July 22, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs yesterday assured child rights activists and development partners of the willingness of lawmakers to strengthen laws that would protect children.
Hon. Hassan Sesay was speaking at the Hill Valley Hotel, where the National Commission for Children unveiled their three years strategic plan (2016-2018).
“As a lawmaker, I want to assure every child right activists that as a Parliament, we are more than willing to strengthen laws that will protect our children,” he assured.
He said actions already taken by the government clearly demonstrate their desire to ensure that issues affecting children, who are most times vulnerable when disasters occur, are properly addressed.
He said adults are always responsible for putting children in precarious situations and that it was but fitting that they started taking responsibility to get them out of such predicament.
According to him, sexual penetration and the creation of conflict situations where children are enmeshed are most times perpetuated by adults.
The ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) lawmaker pointed out that most of damage to children are done in rural areas, and urged that more attention be paid to vulnerable children in the provinces.
“The creation of the National Commission for Children was not borne out of a vacuum but of a commitment by the government to ensure that the population, especially children, must be cared for at all times,” he noted.
While commending the NCC for coming up with such a plan, which has a clear focus of what to be done to protect children, Hon. Sesay appealed for support to ensure its successful implementation.
He added that the strategic plan captures everything pertaining to improving the welfare and protection of children.
Presenting the document, NCC Commissioner Olayinka Laggah explained that the plan was aimed at enabling the commission to identify key priorities for children within their mandate.
According to her, efforts at developing the document, with support from Plan International, were informed by their motto: “Children, our future, invest in them.”
She stated that the document outlines thematic programmes and activities to fully engage the commission, as well as providing awareness of collaboration with child-geared partners and ministries, departments and agencies.
On behalf of children, Eugenia Rogers from the Children Broadcasters Network, commended the NCC for the strategic plan, which seeks to identify key issues that affect children nationwide.
She noted that problems affecting children are many, citing teenage pregnancy, rape, child marriage and child labour, which according to her, continually arise and affect the growth and wellbeing of children.