Home News UNICEF Lauds Kwara Govt’s Commitment to Reintegrate 113 Freed Borstal Children

UNICEF Lauds Kwara Govt’s Commitment to Reintegrate 113 Freed Borstal Children


By Philip Yatai

Ilorin, – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended the Kwara Government for its commitment towards reintegrating 113 freed Borstal children.

The Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Country Office, Abuja, Ms Nkiru Maduechesigave the commendation in Ilorin on Friday, at the ongoing four-day training on child protection case management for the 218 children.

The training was organised for social workers, NGOs, and service providers, by UNICEF in collaboration with Kwara Ministry for Social Development and Save the Future of Children Initiative (SAFIN).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 113 children were among the 218 children and adults released from the Borstal Training Institution, Ilorin, in 2021.

Their freedom was facilitated after a visit to the facility by the Federal Ministry of Justice, Presidential Committee on Correctional Reform and Decongestion, Nigeria Correctional Service.

The visit was supported by UNICEF and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC).

Maduechesi told NAN that beyond the release, was the problem of psychological trauma, abuse, mental health issues and other challenges, including rejection of some of the children by their parents.

She said that the Kwara government and SAFIN with support from UNICEF were supporting the 113 of the children’s residents in Ilorin to effectively reintegrate them back to the society.

She said that the effort was under the European Union-funded strengthening access to justice for children on the move and other vulnerable children project.

She added that the project seeks to strengthen the capacity of the government, social workers, NGOs, parents, and caregivers to provide adequate care to children.

According to her, the project will also help critical stakeholders to provide children with the needed mental, health and psychosocial support in addition to the vocational and educational opportunities they need.

“This will enable them to live a meaningful and productive life and will contribute to the growth and development of their families and their communities free of violence, abuse, and neglect.

“We are very impressed with the commitment demonstrated by the state and how the government embraced the child protection case management for the affected children.

“We are happy with the cooperation, and more importantly, the empathy and the passion demonstrated by the social workers undergoing a series of training on case management was very encouraging.

“UNICEF is hoping that going forward, Kwara will have an improved child protection system where case management is very effective.”

Maduechesi said that the support was beyond the 113 freed children but integrating case management in response to all children in need of all kinds of child protection services in the state.

She added that UNICEF was also supporting the state government to use the Child Protection Management System (CPIMS) to help social workers undertake systematic and professional child protection case management.

“This will enable the government to effectively track the services they are providing in a user-friendly way which will ensure accountability to the government, families, and the children themselves,” she said.

Also, Dr Wilfred Mamah, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, added that UNICEF was also supporting the state government to fully implement its Child Rights Law.

Mamah described child protection as the prevention and response to violence, abuse, and neglect, adding that the capacity building was to enable the state to respond to child protection related issues efficiently and adequately.

“We are trying to equip them with key principles of how to approach children; how to interview a child, and how to come down to the level of a child to build trust,” he said.

The Commissioner for Social Development, Mrs Abosede Aremu, also thanked UNICEF, SAFIN and other partners supporting the state to reintegrate the children to their families and support them to live productive lives.

Aremu reiterated the government resolved to work towards protection of the interest of the child for the development of the state.

Also speaking,  the Chief Executive Officer, SAFIN, Mr Oyedele Olufemi, equally commended the Ministry for Social Development for its open-door policy and advocated for sustainability of the project to reach other children. (NAN) 

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