THE Lagos State Government has warned heads of schools and child-centred institutions in the state against covering up abuses as this is an offence punishable under the law.
The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, stated this on Friday during a sensitisation programme for principals and teachers on safeguarding and child protection policy, in Alausa, Ikeja.
She said, “It is said that enlightenment is superior to enforcement and that is why we are having this engagement with teachers and principals of both public and private schools to ensure that children in your care are adequately protected and your response to abuses would be aimed towards justice being served.
“Last year, Mr Governor signed the law establishing the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency and there is a new criminal section that has been created in that law which says that each child-centred institution that tries to cover up a case of child abuse, the institution and personnel will be guilty of an offence punishable by three years imprisonment. Just this week, DSVA has had the cause to investigate allegations of abuse in two schools and we also charged some cases to court.”
The Director, Monitoring and Investigation, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs Bimpe Savage, urged principals to report abuses in their schools to the education district offices.
“There are different types of abuse – physical, emotional, psychological and neglect – which are rife in schools and the onus is on us to safeguard our children in the schools.
“If you have reports of abuse, they can be properly investigated by the coordinating directors and evaluators at the zonal and district levels in the state,” she said.
A Child Protection Officer, Mrs Modupe Saheed-Adebambo, explained that the child safeguarding policy adopted by the state involves every step that must be put in place to ensure that children maximise their potential.
Credit: The Punch