The Lagos state government has moved a step forward to monitor and discourage abuse of children with the launch of *6820#, which provides opportunities to report abuses.
Speaking at the 2019 Commonwealth Day celebration on Monday at Alausa, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Olubunmi Adekanye, said pupils should dial *6820# to report sexual violence against them or other forms of abuse. She urged them not to hesitate to report sexual or domestic abuse happening to them or others.
Adekanye said: “Finally, let me remind you that you owe this nation and humanity responsibility to report violence against you or your friends and colleagues so that the government can help to rescue you from abusers. Building a connected commonwealth to my mind starts with ensuring that everyone young and old enjoys peace of the mind devoid of any form of torture.”
She added further in an interview that the helpline, which was recently launched, was being manned by experts in the ministry of justice and warned against its indiscriminate use.
“It has just been launched and once they receive calls, they take it seriously and would ask a lot of questions so people should not call it for fun,” she said.
The theme for the 2019 Commonwealth Day was “A connected Commonwealth” and pupils from the six education districts of the state competed through various performing art forms (drama, dance, poetry, choral, and fashion parade) for laurels at the event.
The overall prize went to Education District One represented by pupils of Oke Odo Senior High School, Ile-Epo, for its drama which portrayed how the countries in the commonwealth were disconnected because of lack of respect of each other’s culture, languages, or racism.
English Teacher of Oke Odo Senior High School, Ile-epo, Ms Adeola Adefemi, who prepared the pupils for the competition, said the aim of the drama was to solve the problems it highlighted.
“We looked at the theme and we felt there should be a problem we solve.
“Among the commonwealth countries, there is problem of racism, lack of respect for culture and language of others and we hope it would be corrected through this drama,” she said.
Precious Patrick, an SS3 pupil on the drama team, said she was delighted that her school won despite not displaying costumes as colourful as those of others.
“The drama was highly educative. I learnt we should have respect for one another’s culture, language, not negate people’s views and have regard for the rule of law.
“When I saw the costumes of other districts, I thought we could not win because our costumes were not so good but I am happy we won,” she said.
Education District Four came second with their Atilogu Dance, which featured a brief parade of other countries while Education District Three was third with their colourful fashion parade of the national attires of the various countries that make up the commonwealth.
Director, Co-curricular Services, Mrs Marion Babs-Akineyeye, said the Commonwealth Day competition was an avenue for the ministry to nurture various talents in the young ones.