Lagos, UNICEF Partner On Street Urchins

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The Lagos State government is making frantic efforts to rid the state of street urchins  and children who roam the streets selling things.

The state is doing this in partnership with the United Nations Children Education Fund  (UNICEF) in order to make the plan effective.

The UNICEF, Child Projection Specialist in Lagos State, Mrs. Roseline Akinroye, who  represented the international organisation, stated this at the opening of a three-day  stakeholders forum on half way transit home for street children in Lagos.

Akinroye explained that UNICEF was involved in the project based on the awareness that  street children constituted a major problem to the development of Lagos State.

According to her: “What we are trying to do is to support the state government to have a  system in place whereby issues of street children will be adequately and promptly  addressed.

“We have pocket of intervention here and there but we want to achieve a system such that  once a child is identified on the street, any good citizen of LagosState will know what  best to do to get that child back to school.”

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While listing broken homes, poverty and the quest for independence as reasons responsible  for children on the street, she tasked government on proper implementation of policies  and programmes aimed at assisting street children as this alone makes the problem  history.

The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Joke  Orelope-Adefulire, while speaking on the need to take children off the streets, said the  move was aimed at ensuring that these children, mostly underage are sent back to school  rather than engage in street trading and hawking.

The commissioner, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Riskat  Akiyode, lamented that such situation had lured many children into crime, adding that a  programme would be established to ensure the success of the programme.

She explained that Lagos daily witnesses high influx of children from both within and  outside the country, noting that a lot of programmes have been formulated to effectively  ensure that no child in the state is on the street during school hours.

She listed the programmes to include the Child Act Law and distribution of yellow card  where people reached the government to report any case affecting children.