Today, I continue from where I stopped last week.
Rounding off last week, after commending unequivocally the promulgation of the Dec. 16 Executive Order, I asked, ‘does the promulgation of the Executive Order signal uhuru in matters relating to the protection of our precious children in Lagos State?’
Let me set to do justice to the task I imposed upon myself.
You see, I still celebrate and commend the innovativeness of the Lagos State Government in providing leadership in matters of Child Protection. This move is first of its kind in Nigeria and it must be saluted by all well-meaning Lagosians, who stand for the best interest of our precious children.
Going forward, frankness and field experience, which has spanned a period of 20 years tells me that the Executive Order is not envisaged by His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi AMBODE to be an END in itself.
Since I know that the noble intention of the Lagos State Government is to protect every precious child in Lagos State, the Executive Order is therefore a MEANS to an END. I believe the noble END is the protection of all the precious children of Lagos State from all forms of abuse, thereby preserving their childhood. While the MEANS has been provided, it remains ineffectual except it is deliberately EXPLORED or ACTIVATED to achieve the declared END.
I believe, it is the dream of the Lagos State Government that the protection of our precious children must be the number one responsibility of every primary and secondary caregivers. To demonstrate that the protection of our precious children is our number one priority, we must insist that all Child-Focused Organizations(CFO) to which we entrust our precious children are SAFE for them…
Therefore, we do not ask a Child -Focused Organization the cheap question, are children safe in your custody? But we ask a more purposeful and critical question, what measures have you professionally put in place for the protection of the precious children under your care?
So how do we EXPLORE or ACTIVATE this laudable Executive Order? I beg to share the UNICEF template after the Child’s Rights Act(CRA) was promulgated.
When the CRA was promulgated, UNICEF, which commendably played a major role as the rallying force for its promulgation understood that enlightenment is the key to enforcement. UNICEF also understood that enlightenment is also the key to prevention and that in matters of Child Rights/Protection, particularly, prevention is better than cure. The reasoning is very simple, once a child is abused, the impact is eternal except there is divine intervention.
UNICEF identified all the stakeholders in the protection of our precious children and embarked on an enlightenment campaign. UNICEF knew the best of laws gather dusts in hands of the promulgator if it is not backed with the force of enlightenment. Enlightenment helps people to understand their roles and inevitability of same in giving a life to the letters of a law.
The real issue is that until people know that a law exists and they have a role to play in its implementation or enforcement, they will not seek to know their roles; until they know their roles, they cannot understand them; until they understand them they cannot play them; until they play them the law remains a paper tiger or toothless bulldog, which has every potential to bring a celebrated change but lack the strength thereof. If the law becomes a paper tiger or toothless bulldog, then our children remain unprotected to the delight of abusers and nonchalant caregivers.
I think my self-assigned space is almost up. Therefore I crave your indulgence, dear duty bearer reading this piece to take a bow till next week.
As someone, who worked extensively with UNICEF on the series of enlightenment campaigns, which followed the promulgation of the Child Rights Act, 2003, I will return next week to offer concrete recommendations concerning the inevitable collaboration that must exist between the members of the general public, Child-Focused Organizations(CRO) and the State Government to give this laudable Executive Order the blossoming force of life in the very BEST INTEREST OF THE PRECIOUS AFRICAN CHILD.
For this exercise to work there must be a very strong tripartite partnership of the General Public, Child-Focused Organization and the Government.
Remember Enlightenment is Superior to Enforcement. I charge you to Think the CHILD…Think the FAMILY…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…
(C) 2017 by Taiwo ‘ODINAKACHUKWU’ AKINLAMI…All Rights Reserved
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