The Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) Ibadan chapter, is disturbed by the alarming rate of child trafficking in Oyo State. The comission claimed to have saved 710 children in Ibadan metropolis in the last one year. Mrs. Omotayo Mala-Adebayo who is the Head of Program, Women Development and Child’s Rights, an arm of JDPC made this known yesterday, Tuesday April 26th in a stakeholders meeting tagged “Awareness Creation and Campaign Against Child Trafficking and Labour” in Ibadan.
Dignitaries and highly infleuntial citizens such as; religious leaders, traditional rulers, representatives of security and enforcement agencies including Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, NAPTIP and media organizations were all present at the meeting.
Mrs Mala-Adebayo explained that most of this school age minors where picked and saved in different of the areas of the state. Areas such as; Dugbe, Gbagi, Bodija and Ojoo markets, Dandaru Cultural centre, Ayeye, Ogunpa and Agbaje. She maintained that child trafficking and child Labour is still rampant in Ibadan, due to low level of awareness about the dangers of the menace.
According to her, the last one year of aggressive campaign and enlightenment by the commission, has yielded postivie results by successfully re-uniting about 378 children with their families. While calling on all stakeholders in the society to support the activities of the organization, Mala-Adebayo declared that no fewer than 252 children are on a scholarship programe supported by the organization.
Contributing, Mr. Ayo Olanipekun, The Programme Officer of WDP said that 11 families have been re-united. Also that the organization has concluded plans to give educational support for 400 most indigenous children in the city. In Mr Olanipekun’s words “We have identified 560 children among whom are 400 most indigent students who will benefit from the educational support programme.
“Somewhere giving vocational support where we have given out sewing machines and other tools to them.
“In the first phase, we introduced what we can vocational programme, we also focused on rehabilitation of affected children so that they will return to school and those that could not do so we put them in vocational training.
“Last time we went to Ojoo to rescued four children in conjunction with Nigerian Immigration Service, we returned these children back to their parents.
“We have family re-union, many families have been re-united, we gathered affected families together and we have 11 of them within Ibadan and we still want to do more.
Mr. Ezekeil Owoeye, The Director of JDPC called for those perpetrating the act to desist or face the full wrath of the law as all hands will be on the deck to fight the menace. In another development, the JDPC has declared child exploitation as inhuman behavior.
The organization also urged all stakeholders to prevail on the governments at all levels to make primary education free for all. This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the stakeholders’ meeting on Tuesday in Ibadan.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Owoeye said “Make primary education free for all. The conference believes that the enforcement of the child’s right act is most needed now; provision and establishment of a family court, rather than levying shelter owners, government should support and partner with them.”
“Lawmakers should enact laws that will keep children in their homes and ones that will punish the culprits.
“The society must support campaign against child trafficking and Labour and regularly speak out when necessary.”