Date: November 30, 2023 10:09 am
The First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, has joined her Sierra Leone and Angola counterparts – Fatima Bio and Anas Lorenco – to commemorate the first anniversary of UN World Day for the protection of the girl-child.
The celebration held in Winners Chapel International, Freetown, Sierra Leone, focused on prevention and healing from child sexual exploitation, abuse and violence.
Mrs Tinubu, in her remarks, held that the soul of a nation is measured by how it treats its children.
She said setting aside a day to look at the menace underscores the gravity of the effects of such abuse on the girl-child.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that every child grows up in an environment that is safe, nurturing and free from harm.
“Equally important is the healing from trauma of abuse; we must support survivors in their journey to recovery. The scars of abuse run deep, but with the right resources, therapy, love and support, we can help survivors regain strength.
“We must help them to heal and rebuild their lives; their stories are not just tales of pain, they are stories of resilience, hope, courage and triumph,” Mrs Tinubu stated.
Earlier, Mrs Lourenco, in her address, emphasised that all African nations must come together to give survivors a voice and a new lease of life.
“The story is the same everywhere, but as mothers and concerned people, we are with the survivors,’’ she said.
The chief judge of Sierra Leone, Desmond Babatunde, in a remark, assured the women that the judiciary would bring every perpetrator of such abuse to justice.
“There cannot be healing without justice,” she declared.
There were testimonies by survivors, after which the first ladies of Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Angola presented scholarships to 130 survivors.
The scholarships – Le100,000,000 (N4 million) each – cover university education, vocational training, start-up business capital, and other categories.
Available statistics show that one in every four girls and one in every nine boys have been sexually exploited, abused or violated.
November 18 was declared last year by the United Nations as the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sex Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.
The day, initiated by Sierra Leone and co-sponsored by Nigeria in 2021, has achieved its objectives of effectively educating and steering action to eliminate the social menace.