I began this sobering piece last week, reporting my trip to Abule Ado, a suburb of Lagos, where we were told that a pipeline explosion caused the destruction of lives and property.
One of the sites visited by the explosion was Bethlehem Girls College. Part of the lives snuffed out were that of precious children.
Our visit revealed first-hand information about what transpired and the conspiracy of the state and their agencies to hide the truth of the matter, particularly as to the cause of the explosion. We found that there is so many stories behind the story of the explosion.
It is our conclusion that truth is lacking and once truth is lacking, our response may not be effective. Truth is a person and a force and once he is not reckoned with in tackling any issue in human interaction, the foundation is faulty and the possibility of progress becomes a pathetic mirage.
Upon our fact-finding visit Abule-Ado, it is my resolve that we call for a public enquiry as soon as it can hold to discuss the following:
1. The real cause of the explosion. There are speculations that what happened at Abule Ado was a bomb blast, considering the unusual impact of the explosion, which does not share any similarities with the impact of other pipeline explosions in recent past. If it was a bomb blast, who planted the bomb? Could be terrorist groups? Who were the targets? Was the school the target and why? Could it be that our schools and by extension our schools are under attack? Are we to expect other possible attacks? It is important to get to the root of the cause(s) in order for us to know what time of preventive and responsive measures to put in place in Securing A FRIENDLY and PROTECTIVE Environment™ for the precious children of Lagos State, who are within and outside the school system.
2. What measures were in place internally at the level of the school to ensure professional preventive and responsive measures to Securing A FRIENDLY and PROTECTIVE Environment™ for the children of the school? Was there provision for fire drill, lockdown drill or any other kind of drill that may contribute to the protection of the children from the kind of disaster that occurred? It will be recalled that the Lagos State Government on December 16, 2016 promulgated an Executive Order on Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy in pursuant to the Child’s Rights Law of Lagos State, 2007 as ammended. That policy is to be implemented in all the schools in Lagos State and all other child-focused and child-related institutions in Lagos State. How widespread is the implementation of the policy since it was promulgated 4 years ago.
Nations, who are interested in best practices in Securing A FRIENDLY and PROTECTIVE Environment™ for their precious children do not sweep anything that affects them under the carpet. They invest hugely in preventive measures, knowing that prevention is better than cure and less expensive than cure.
It is therefore my call today in THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD that we do not sweep this matter under the carpet but bring same to the front burner of public conscience and consciousness in the defence of the precious children who were affected by the Abule Ado and other precious children that may be endangered in the future. Safety for our precious children begins when we decide to deliberately learn from our situations and compelled those saddled with the responsibilities of protecting our precious children accountable. History repeats itself when we do not learn from it.
Do have an INSPIRED day.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on My Knees this LORD’s day as I do SOCIAL PROTECTION ADVOCACY now and forevermore.