|(Left) Representing the CP, DCP Bolaji Salami and UNICEF representatives, Rocio Aznar and Dr. Wilfred Mamah (Child Justice Consultant) flanked by other officers at the Lagos Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja|
During the donation exercise held at the Lagos State Command Headquarters in Ikeja, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Abuja, Mrs Rocio Aznar, said Lagos state police was in the front line campaign on violence against children in the country.
Appliances donated included: 12 pieces of Panasonic indoor air-conditioner, 12 pieces of Panasonic outdoor air-conditioner, three pieces of ceiling fan with blades and 12 pieces of standing air-conditioner among the several others still being delivered.
“This comes from the highest order. The President, Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 committed to end violence against children in Nigeria. He launched a national campaign to that effect. All states in Nigeria should follow suit to end violence against children in the country,” she added.
According to Aznar, a national survey on violence against children showed that they were high levels of prevalence of violence against children. “Six out of 10 children in Nigeria suffer various forms of violence before they turn 18. One in four girls suffer sexual violence and one in six boys suffer sexual violence.”
The Specialist, who further commended the commitment of the Lagos police and their support for the victims of violence, told newsmen it was as a result of their efforts that UNICEF was supporting the command with some equipment. “These items are for those children who are in custody as victims of violence.”
Speaking, the Commissioner of Police Edgal Imohinmi, who was represented by DCP Bolaji Salami of the State Criminal Intelligence Investigation Department (SCIID) appealed to the UNICEF Child Protection Centre for more supports for Gender Juvenile welfare made the appeal while receiving the items donated to the Gender/Juvenile welfare units.
The CP further appreciated the gesture by UNICEF and assured the representatives that the equipment would be adequately utilised for the benefit of the children.
He further requested that to better care for the vulnerable the state command needed some emergency shelter that could accommodate the children before taking them to the proper homes.
The representative, who lauded the efforts of UNICEF, said the command remained grateful to the international body for such emulative and kind gesture. and requested for shelter for the children who are there before they went home to their families.
Nigeria is first in West Africa to Carry out Study on Violence against children
This is really to be recognised that the president has committed to address this issue. While we have the Nigerian police force in the front line, the Lagos police commission is in the front line too. So, we have no doubt of the Lagos police. They have already shown their commitment by developing guidelines on standard procedures on how to handle children cases and setting up specialised desk for gender and children.
With this, Aznar assured the force that UNICEF decided to provide support with basic items for the specialised unit “so that our colleagues in the police can do a better job supporting our children.”
Accordingly, she expressed: “We also want to recognise a first programme in Nigeria -Deviation - which is being piloted in Lagos led by the police, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Youth to ensure that those children who have committed really minor, petty offences can be diverted to rehabilitation and reintegration programmes instead of being sentenced to imprisonment.
Aznar further assured newsmen that UNICEF was working with the president, governors and MDAs in violence against children, adding that because of Nigeria's efforts in addressing violence against children, Nigeria has been recognised as a global pathfinding country in the fight against violence against children alongside other countries. “Nigeria was the eight country in the world to conduct this study on violence against children and the first in West Africa.”