By Archibong Jeremiah
Basic Rights Council Initiative has criticized the Cross River State Government for rounding up street kids in Calabar.
The Childs’ right group made their position known in a press statement made available to CrossRiverWatch recently in Calabar.
The statement reads in part “It cannot be gainsaid that this combatant raiding of street kids is far from bringing a lasting solution to the security issues in Calabar and is also not in the best interest of the children. We note particularly that just last year, street kids were rounded up and later repatriated, but are now back to the street in full squad.
“While we equally express our concern at the alarming rate of street kids in the city of Calabar with the attendant security issues, we make bold to reiterate our constant position that the best and only way to bring a lasting solution to the problem is by fully rehabilitating the children and not by arresting, detaining and repatriating them.
The organization called on government to be committed to the full implementation of the Child Rights Law of the state and work to gain the trust of the street children with a view to rehabilitating them.
“We call on the government of Cross River State and particularly, the Ministry of Sustainable Development & Social Welfare to be fully committed to the implementation of the Child Rights Law of Cross River State (Law No. 4)2009. The Ministry of Sustainable Development & Social Welfare must professionally engage children in street situations, gain their trust, understand their issues and gradually get them rehabilitated.”
The statement which was signed by James Ibor, Esq. Executive Secretary Basic Rights Council Initiative concluded by calling on government to also engage CBOs and NGOs in their fight against the scourge.
“The Cross River State government must also develop a sustainable partnership with other NGO’s working with children. The government must engage religious leaders and other social institutions with a view to bringing lasting solution to the issue of street kids in Calabar.
“On our part as a registered child rights organisation based in Calabar, we also work with children living in the streets. We pledge our complete willingness to partner with the Cross River State Government and all other relevant stakeholders in all issues that concerns children.”
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