By Patrick Obia
Government at all level and Religious Leaders have been blamed for the increased branding of children as witches as well as partial implementation of the Child’s Right Law.
The accusation was made on a Sunday regular radio program “The Dialogue With Agba Jalingo” on Hit 95.9FM Calabar by the Executive Director, BrenCare Foundation, Miss Brenda Effiom, Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Josephine Effah-Chukwuma and Emilia Eyo-Effa, CUSO Gender Development Expert.
Brenda made this claim while speaking as she she affirmed that parents label their children witches due to what their Pastor tell them thereby casting them into the streets.
“A lot of parents say their children are witches, the Pastors and the Religious Leaders are not helping us; branding children witches and these children are sent out to the street from their home. There is a whole lot to be done, starting from the Church. I will really hold our Religious Leaders accountable because I think in Nigeria we are too religious and people listen to their Pastor more and I will use this opportunity to tell our Religious Leaders that, they have a role to play in the lives of our parents.
“They should use their positions as Pastors, as Elders, as Deacons and Deaconesses to talk to parents that their children are treasures, their children are the future leaders, their children are not witches maybe they have special needs; maybe your child is stubborn or behaving in a funny way, why not seek medical attention? Why take your child to a Pastor? There are a lot of special children around. I think parents need to do more.” She said.
In the same vein, Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, expressed disappointment of inability of the Government to ensure Child’s Rights are protected.
“Why do we have a Government? Be it on the State level, be it on the Local Government level, why do we have Government? It is the duty and responsibility of the Government to oversee and ensure that the rights of children are protected.
“Yes we say Religious Leaders but they are doing this things because Government is not doing what it suppose to do and when am talking of Government, am talking about the three tiers of Government; the Executives and Government Agencies.
“Religious Organizations are doing what they are doing because Government have given them the allowance. Too much impunity is raining, so much impunity is thriving, children are abused on a daily basis.” She said .
Also lending her voice in the program, Emilia Eyo-Effa, CUSO Gender Development Expert, plead with parents not to pressurize their children and allow them to study the career of their choice adding that love and care are what every child need.
The Cross River State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo was confirmed for the program but didn’t show up.
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