The governor in a statement made available by the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem also announced ratification of the first ever Executive Order establishing a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in the country.
“Failure to adhere to the content of the policy would warrant significant repercussions varying from withdrawal of licenses to filing of criminal charges due to negligence,” Ambode warned.
The governor, who said the policy was designed as a catalyst for driving awareness and commitment of all stakeholders, including every member of the community towards the protection of children, pointed out that it was developed to prescribe management systems in place to create and maintain a safe environment for children.
Ambode, while saying that the policy in clear terms also articulates procedures to be adopted when disclosures of abuse were made, added that the Executive Order signed by him on December 16, 2016 highlighted the emphasis which the present administration placed on protecting the lives of all children in the state.
He maintained that the order applied to all state government organisations, all public and private schools, child centred institutions, and orphanages located in the state.
According to him, the policy also provides the steps that must be followed in case of a disclosure, the role of the Designated Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer, and the process of reporting and dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff.
“The Executive Order now makes it mandatory for Child Protection policy to be integrated into the induction programme of newly recruited staff into child-centred institutions. As regards employment of staff, it is now mandatory for all child-centred institutions to conduct detailed background checks.
“Ultimately, the ratification of this Executive Order, would reduce and possibly eliminate incidences of child abuse, establish a culture of early identification of trends and effective intervention to limit the occurrence of cases,” he said.
Ambode assured that in the state government would in the next coming months strongly drive adoption of the policy to ensure that all child centred institutions adopted and adhered strictly to the provisions of the Order, while electronic copies would be made available on the state’s website and other relevant social media platforms to ensure proper dissemination.