By Archibong Jeremiah
Members of Prevent Abuse of Children Today, Safe Child Africa and Basic Rights Counsel Initiative joined the rest of the world to mark the International Day for Street Children in Calabar Cross River State.
Speaking on behalf of the organizers, Mrs. Eseh-Ogene Ibor, Chairman Basic Rights Council Initiative revealed that they are the first Non Governmental Organization in Cross River to mark the day since inception in 2011.
Stating the importance of the event she maintained that the day “provides a platform for millions of street children around the world to speak out and share concerns, so that their rights can no longer be ignored.
“For this year, our identity campaign challenges negative perceptions of street children, highlights their potentials and encourage the public and decision makers to look at the children without pre conceived ideas, so that they are no longer invisible in government policies and programs.”
She ended by calling on all and sundry to ensure that the rights of children are respected.
Also speaking in the event, the Cross River State Police Commissioner, Henry Fadairo commended the organizers of the program for their vision.
Fadairo represented by ASP Monica maintained that most crimes against children are wrong and as such his office will support any initiative aimed at making the State a better place.
As part of the program there was a panel of discussants made up current and ex-street children, parents and a children under the care of their parents.
During the discussion, both the ex and current street children shared their experiences. They both revealed while speaking that part of the reasons that landed them on the streets include accusations of witchcraft and causing poverty in their families with attendant consequences that made the streets more habitable than their homes.
Summing the occasion, the discussants and other participants faulted the closure of the family court as a major peril in getting justice for child related cases. Poverty, illiteracy, weakness of law enforcement agencies, churches among others were also identified as the root factors responsible for child abandonment.
The event featured a drama presentation by members of Girls Power Initiative centered round factors that lead some children to move into the streets.
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