Vice President Chief Jewel Howard-Taylor has advocated the enactment of tougher laws on child abandonment, child abuse and the implementation of maximum sentencing for rape related crimes.
Chief Howard-Taylor also called on regional governments, development partners, all ECOWAS stakeholders to begin a process to take children off the street and give them safe home to live in, food to eat and access to basic education.
She made the call at the programme organized by young Ambassadors Against Drug Abuse Initiative, YAADAI, in collaboration with Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament and Street Child crew, a Radio Nigeria Network programme, in continuation of a campaign in giving recognition to the plights of street children and to ensure their voices are heard in the ECOWAS sub-region
VP Howard-Taylor said financial support must be given to struggling families so that they could afford to care for their children and provide access to birth control for poor rural woman.
‘’System should be created and supported to provide for mental health care and substance abuse treatment, mentors should be encouraged to become champions of street children and they should amplify their voices, tougher laws concerning child abandonment, child abuse should be enacted, no child deserves to be deserted or harmed but should be protected,’’ VP Taylor stressed.
She commended the efforts of the organizers for improving the status of children, prepare them for leadership positions and provide commitment of the leadership of the US to advancing the cause of street children
‘’Some vulnerable children are abused, no protection from family or the law, forced to be recruited into criminal activities and traffic,” VP Howard-Taylor emphasised, adding, “Street connected children often suffer from depression and anxiety which lead them to substance abuse and suicide. The stigma and social exclusion faced by street connected children has a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.’’