Child Kidnappers, Traffickers Should Get Stiffer Penalties –Ebhomien | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Child Kidnappers, Traffickers Should Get Stiffer Penalties –Ebhomien

Posted: Sep 1, 2015 at 4:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

National President of the National Committee for the Protection of Children (NACOMPROCH), Prof John Ebhomien, in this interview expressed worries over the state of the Nigerian children. He feels that the governments at all levels should do more to protect the rights of the girl-child. He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU

Would you tell us about your organisation the National Committee for the Protection of Children (NACOMPROCH)?

NACOMPROCH is a non-governmental organisation registered with the Corporate



Affairs Commission (CAC). The objective is to ensure adequate protection for our children, defence of the children’s rights and privileges, motherhood, maternal health, health education and all those functions that will enhance the well being of the children now and the years ahead. We also perform leadership training programmes for children to live responsible life and assume leadership positions.

Basically, ours is a humanitarian and compassionate organisation dedicated to the service of mankind and God. It is a non-profit organisation solely funded by me. But we hope and strongly believe that in the foreseeable future, we will receive help and support from donor organisations

What led to the formation of the organisation?

The idea behind the establishment of NACOMPROCH was borne out of the burning desire for compassion outreach, service to God and humanity. When you look at the poverty level in this country, 80 per cent of Nigerian children cannot meet three square meals a day. You will see a lot of children with bowls in their hands begging for alms. Most of them look sick, malnourished, without adequate medicare. I was in a shop one day to buy music disc. I saw a young girl with a child sleeping on her belly while sitting. She looked dejected and sad. I enquired from her what was wrong with her. She narrated tome her ordeals which I will not like to mention here. But, she was hunger.

She told me that she had not eaten for since the previous day. Then I took money from my pocket and gave to her to buy food for herself and her child. Then it dawned on me that there were several children down there who were suffering and needed help, hence my desire to go into compassionate outreach, safe motherhood, child rights and advocacy, to ensure that there is adequate protection for the Nigerian children.

In my several interviews in the media, I have spoken extensively on the rights of the Chibok girls and what the government could do for their effective release from the insurgents. I have travelled extensively in Nigeria and outside the country in defence of Child Rights. I have attended several programmes and workshops in Nigeria and outside the country, even those organised by UNICEF and UNDP in furtherance of Child welfare, maternal health education and advocacy.

What has been the activities of the organisation?

Ours is to ensure there is adequate and responsible healthcare delivery for the Nigerian children. We ensure that children have a future in our nation. We network with other organisations, engage in child rights and protection. I have already spoken about leadership trainings in value system for our children, training on probity and accountability, so that they will live transparent life. The purpose is to build the heart and minds of our future leaders in a responsible manner and avoid those vices that bring the name of out country to the lowest ebb in the comity of nations. It has been a wonderful experience. We also do such programmes as citizen mediation and conflict resolution.

Child trafficking and the baby factory syndrome are still rampant these days. How would this be checked?

The issue of child trafficking, kidnapping of children has been on the increase with no apparent justification. There is the need to nip in the bud the sad situation that has taken ugly dimension. I will suggest mass education for our people and advocacy by the government and NGOs to ensure that those involved in the criminal activities are brought to book in accordance with the rule of law. I will suggest a stiffer penalties for those involved in child kidnapping and trafficking. Government should put in place appropriate measures to track down those involved in those heinous crimes and also block their linkages. From my observation, I discovered that they have a network used by the traffickers to commit dastardly acts.

One major issue that is raising dust in the country is that of child rape. What is your advice on this?

My heart bleeds when I hear about child rape. This is a very dangerous trend, which should not be allowed to continue now or in foreseeable future. Presently, the enabling laws regarding child rape are somewhat obnoxious and lacking in substances. I will therefore call on states and the National Assembly to enact appropriate laws with stiffer penalties that will put in check this issue of girl-child rape. They should revisit these laws that were enacted in the past for amendments to give teeth to the enforcement of appropriate sanctions and punishments for those who engage in these acts of man’s inhumanity to the girl-child.

How would you see the problem of the girl-child in Nigeria today?

I will advice the government to put in place appropriate strategies and measures to enhance the education of our girl-child in Nigeria as a whole. There must be synergies to ensure that the girl-child is given the encouragement to pursue her education right s and those things that will enhance her well being. The girl-child must be given equal rights with her male counterpart. The governments at all levels must give adequate attention in all ramifications to the girl-child because they are the mothers of tomorrow. If we take good care of our girl-child, we are creating a future for our leaders of tomorrow with integrity and transparency. We have to lay a good foundation now. The government has to do this now because any foundation on solid ground will stand the test of time. Parents should stop given their girl-child out for early marriage as it happens in some parts of the country. This does not speak well of us as a nation. We have seen that some of the girls given out in early marriage develop VVF, which leads to psychological trauma and early death.

Would you say the governments are doing enough to tackle the problem of the girl-child in Nigeria?

The government is not doing much to ensure adequate protection of the girl-child in the area of education, healthcare services and girl-child rights and freedom. The girl-child should as a matter of urgency, create a special commission for children. The present situation whereby it is under the Ministry of Women Affairs is not enough. They should be given special attention because they are the leaders of tomorrow. Ignore our children at our own peril. The issues of Boko Haram, youth restiveness, kidnapping, area boys, drug addiction, etc, are all offshoots of improper upbringing of our children. A responsible government cannot afford to ignore her children. They will do all in their power to build the children, develop and nature them to become responsible citizens of this great nation. It calls for wisdom.