The Federal Government has vowed to tackle the aspect of culture that threatens the health and safety of children.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen consequently said that the Ministry is ready to work with other agencies and stakeholders to ensure an enabling environment for children.
She spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the official close-out of Mobilising Actions Towards the Abortion of Infanticide project in the Federal Capital Terrority.
Infanticide is the intentional killing of infants or new born babies, mostly over culture or belief.
In her keynote address, titled, ‘The policy thrust of Ministry of Women Affairs towards ending infanticide and other forms of violence against children’, the minister expressed concern that the practice still persist despite existing laws about children in Nigeria.
Tallen who was represented by her Special Technical Assistant, Jumai Idonije said “Infanticide and others forms of violence against children remain one of the most serious threat to the health and safety of children in particular; the girl child. The devastating consequences are felt at economic, social, and at personal level because of the grievous harm inflicted on them. Despite the existing laws and policies in Nigeria such as the Child Right Act 2003, this evil act still persists. The good news is that if we care, we can do something about it. The project has been on. The Ministry has been supportive.
“The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs as a national machinery for the advancement of the wellbeing of women and children and other vulnerable groups including the girl child acknowledges the efforts of Action Aid and the European Union and all the partners towards ending infanticide and other forms of violence against women and children in the area of reproductive health right, maternal mortality reduction, Female Genital Mutilation, and other harmful practices throughout Nigeria.
“Culture is a part of the people and we truly respect that but when that aspect of the culture deprives anyone of life, then we need to do something about it. And the starting point around such abuse is that it can be prevented through the control of risk factors. The Ministry will continue to create an enabling environment for every child to grow well, healthy and be a true citizen of this great country.”
Also at the event, the Board Chair of ActionAid Nigeria, Jummai Umar-Ajijola said “As a Moslem, I was taught that one of the best actions towards others is supporting the orphans both in terms of livelihood and defending their rights just like what ActionAid is doing.
” For me, the MATAI project that was championed by ActionAid conceptualised by Vine Heritage Home facilitated by the European Union and implemented by every single player in this event epitomises love for children and defending their rights. It is gladdening that this project has provided the children with an opportunity to experience these virtues and give them a better chance in life.”
In his remark, the Founder of Vine Heritage Home Foundation, Olushola Stevens said, “Anything that has to do with people’s culture, you do not wish them away. Sometimes, one can spend a year trying to eradicate culture among the people. What use to be burden for myself and my wife in fighting against infanticide, it is now a burden for everyone especially with the coming of EU, ActionAid. Human Rights Commission, etc. As of today in the Home, 18 children have been reunited back to their families.”