Hundreds of residents of Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital over the weekend applauded the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates' Confraternity) for staging a street march against child rape and abuse in the state. The growing rate of child rape, molestation and abuse in Yenagoa and other communities has been a source of worry to the state government and non-governmental organizations in the state.
Recently the International President of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Bayelsa state chapter said for 2016 it was tracking 100 cases of child rape and abuse in the state.
The street march which had in attendance participants from the Legal Aid council, National Youth Service Corps, Lions Club, Rotary and the Save Our Future Children Club commenced at Bay Bridge and ended at the popular Ekeki Park.
The representative of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria Bayelsa chapter, Mr Ajibo Ndubusi Sunday commended the National Association of Seadogs for its decision to stand up against all forms of rape, child molestation and abuse in Bayelsa state.
According to him the initiative by NAS was good because it would create the needed awareness to fight the menace in the society. He said NAS has shown that it is ready to work with Legal Aid and other organizations to fight the menace in Bayelsa society.
“As you know the Legal Aid is the leading proactive quality provider of free legal services to the indigent members of the society especially those vulnerable. This cankerworm that is downgrading Bayelsa state and Nigeria must stop. The frequency of rape is high in Bayelsa state. It comes every week and we are seeing it. FIDA and the state government are trying but we commend this organization (NAS) for this laudable initiative. Bayelsans would know where to report when they have cases of rape and they can know that this organization must take up their case.”
The coordinator of SOFC, Mrs Bolatito Folaranmi also commended NAS for organizing the Street March to create awareness for people to put a stop to the violence in Bayelsa state. She however explained that it is also important to stress to the Boy Child when growing up to treat the Girl Child with respect.
“This is very important as it would go a long way to put a stop to violence against children that is going on everyday in Bayelsa state. The focus is on girls but boys are also being molested and abused. This march would create the necessary awareness on how to report and where to report to when your child is molested. It would also go to show perpetrators that people are determined to get them punished. I also need to make a very important point that as parents we need to educate the Boy Child to treat the Girl Child with respect. They need to know that female children are not less important.”
Folaranmi while speaking noted that NAS as an organization is committed to the advocacy programme to fight all forms of crime against children.
He disclosed in line with the vision of the NAS Cap'n, Mr Arthur Boje Esq under the Street Child project, NAS would drive the advocacy against all forms of crime against children until perpetrators are brought to book.
According to him while the Bayelsa state government has done well by enacting the Child Rights Law, the law needs to take its course to deal with offenders.
Folaranmi disclosed that the organization is looking beyond the street march to ensure it creates a pool of funds to assist the Legal Aid in its Pro Bono services.
He also said as an organization with a track record of sound professionals, Lawyers and Medical Doctors and other medical personnel would be drafted into the advocacy programme to put all violators of children behind bars.