By Mohammed Lawal
Birnin Kebbi – Stakeholders on child protection in Kebbi have urged the state government to strengthen social welfare departments in local councils to discharge their responsibilities more effectively.
The stakeholders also canvassed for more funding to the social welfare departments as well as enhancing community sensitisation to check cases of child abuse and violence in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the recommendations were the outcome of a meeting attended by NGOs, local council chairmen and Directors of Social Departments, as well as Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Women and Social Development, Hajiya Aishatu Maikurata.
According to a statement by Malam Yahaya Sarki, Special Adviser Media to Gov. Atiku Bagudu, issued in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday, the meeting was also attended by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Hassan-Shalla.
It was held to review the state of child protection and survival following the rescue of a 12-year-old boy chained for two years by his father in Birnin Kebbi.
The commissioner assured the participants that the recommendations would be forwarded to the governor, so that action will be taken to strengthen the social welfare and health departments in local councils to check such abuses.
He called on the local government chairmen to ensure strict supervision, and assured that his ministry would join hands with traditional leaders to avert the reoccurrence of such case and ensure punishment for perpetrators.
Earlier, Nasiru Karofi, who is the Resource Person and Team Leader of CBOs and NGOs at the meeting, noted that community members generally needed to wake up and be their brothers’ keepers.
According to him, there is need for proper orientation of the people to learn to show concern to happenings within their communities.
“Social Welfare Officers should be proactive in dealing with social issues, I equally want to appeal to the state government to strengthen the Ministry for Women and Social Development,’’ he said.
On his part, Zayyanu Gado, Director Social Welfare, Birnin Kebbi Local Government, advocated for more funding of social welfare departments in the 21 LGAs, to strengthen their capacity.
The meeting was at the instance of the Secretary to the State Government, Babale Umar-Yauri and the Special Adviser on Women and Social Development, Hajiya Zarau Wali.