by crossriverwatch admin
The increase in the number of street children in Cross River State, particularly in Calabar the State capital, has become a source of worry to the state government CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report.
CrossRiverWatch had penultimate week reported in details how street children who now litter the street of Calabar have continued to terrorize Calabar and constitute a threat to the serene city.
The report which captured how the children eat from dustbins and was widely circulated amongst online portals also drew the attention of child right activists to the non responsiveness of the Cross River State government to its responsibility over children.
A senior official in the State Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development who did not want to be named told CrossRiverWatch that, “We already knew the problem was existing due to several complaints from members of the public before your report. But your report drew further attention to the menace and the truth is that the state government does not have the resources to fulfill the statutory obligations to those number of children on the streets, majority of whom are not from Cross River.
“And I think the best way to go about it now is to bring in the police and clean up the streets and see how those of them who are not from Cross River can be returned to their various states to reunite with their families. And those from Cross River can be taken into custody and taken care of by the government. We will not continue to leave them on the streets.”
Taking the first step in addressing this social menace, the Commissioner for Social Welfare and Community Development, Patricia Endeley met with the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kola Shodipo in an effort to collaborate with the police to combat child abandonment in the State.
While in the Police Commissioner’s office Mrs. Endeley lamented the level of increase of street children in the State, stressing that from available evidence, some of the children were brought in at night from neighboring States of Akwa Ibom, Abia, Benue and Ebonyi and dumped in Calabar particularly at Ikot Ishie and 11-11 roundabout.
The Commissioner said some of these children were above 15 years of age and usually engaged in armed robbery and rape, which she says the government frowns at.
She appealed to the Nigerian Police to assist the Ministry in curbing the menace by continuous policing of the black spots areas within Calabar metropolis.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kola Sodipo, is his response was said to have told Mrs. Endeley that the Police was always ready to ensure the safety of the public, adding that with the cooperation the police is getting from the administration, they are always ready to support the state government in ensuring public safety in the state at all times.
The Police Commissioner who promised to immediately move into action also urged Mrs. Endeley to appoint a liaison person from the ministry who will always work with the Police in their operations to enable them identify the State of origin of the children.
He assured that the children will be given the necessary protection in line with the provision of the law, while urging the general public to keep the Nigerian police informed to aid them in discharging their constitutional responsibilities.
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