by crossriverwatch admin
A Child’s Right Organization in Calabar, Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, will tomorrow April 16, 2013 stage a solidarity rally round Calabar to protest what the group call the “insensitivity of the Cross River State government to the plight of abandoned children”.
The group had earlier demanded the sack of the Cross River State Commissioner for Social Welfare and Community Development, Mrs. Patricia Endeley for negligence of her duty.
In a petition signed by the Executive Director of the group, James Ibor, Esq to the Executive Governor of the State, Senator Liyel Imoke dated March 25, 2013, the group said “On Friday 8th March 2013, with the assistance of the Police, we rescued two children, Elisha John Akpan and Esther John Akpan from a room at Akpandem where they were locked up for over three days with neither food nor water by their father Mr. Friday John Akpan who branded them witches.
“We have facilitated the treatment of the children and they are due to be discharged to a facility they can call home, since no relation is willing to take up the responsibility of protecting them. Sir, we have written to Barr. Patricia Endeley and visited the Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development which is mandated by the Child Rights Law to take up the responsibility of returning humanity to these kids, but Barr. Patricia through her Director Child, has informed us that – there is no space anywhere and there is nothing they can do”.
The Cross River State of Nigeria, Child Rights Law, 2009, section 175 (1) (3), states aptly that; “The state shall provide accommodation for a child in need within the state who appears to require accommodation where: (a) There is no person having parental responsibility for the child; or (b) The child is lost or has been abandoned or runs away from home; and the person who has care for the child is prevented for any reason whatever, from providing the child with accommodation or care;
(3) The state shall provide accommodation for a child within the state.
Whose welfare the appropriate authority considers is likely to be seriously prejudiced if the state does not provide the child with accommodation…”
S. 176 (1) “The state shall make provision for the reception and accommodation of children who are removed or kept away from home”.
Section 274 which is the interpretation section defines commissioner to mean a person charged with the responsibility for matters relating to children in the state.
And the Commissioner for social welfare is the person saddled with the responsibility of providing direct support to children.
But the group alleged that Esther and Elisha’s case was not the first time the commissioner was refusing to take her responsibility. They demanded her sack while threatening to mobilize their volunteers for a peaceful march round Calabar if their request was not treated with dispatch.
In a telephone chat with Bar. James Ibor, he said they will be going ahead with the protest tomorrow.
“We have concluded arrangements for the rally tomorrow Tuesday. The police have been duly informed in writing about the rally and we have made a formal request for police protection to ensure a peaceful rally. We will continue this campaign until relevant government officials take their statutory responsibility”, He said.
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