The Lagos State Government on Tuesday disclosed that two children died at school in 2022, due to negligence from school officials.
Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), made this known in Ikeja, during the Stakeholders’ Meeting for the Year 2022 Intervention Report on Safeguarding and Child Protection in School.
Vivour-Adeniyi said that the first death was a case of drowning at the school pool, while the second was a case of the child ran down by a vehicle, after crossing the school gate, without vigilance from the school officials.
She said that while in school, some children had been physically and sexual abused, and the state government really frowned at such.
”We had a couple of sexual abuse allegations made against teachers, school bus drivers, janitors. We had physical abuse, sexual abuse,” Vivour-Adeniyi said.
She said that majority of the cases could had been avoided if relevant safeguarding measures were put in place in the schools.
”The Joint Task Force on Safeguarding and Child Protection, in the past one year, visited several schools where we received child protection and safeguarding concerns. As a result of these visitations, we came up with our report, our end of year report.
”We deemed it expedient to have this roundtable meeting, which is a two-day programme, to conduct a postpartum assessment of these different cases, understand the trends, understand lessons that we can learn, forge a way forward from a more preventive lens.
”So that it is not until these cases happen, that we have to respond and it is important that we learn from our mistakes or errors, or from history, from the past, with a view to knowing the way forward in issues that pertain to safeguarding and child protection in schools,” Vivour-Adeniyi said.
She said that findings during the visitations revealed that there was no level of awareness about the existence of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in schools.
According to her, there was a low level of awareness about support services that schools can take advantage of, with the unfortunate instance, that disclosure of safeguarding and child protection is made.
”So, it is important that as government, we continue to create awareness about the existence of the relevant laws, and let education institutions know that government is a partner in progress, and if there are issues, they should not hesitate to escalate appropriately,” she said.
In her welcome address, Mrs Toyin Oke- Osanyintolu, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, said that many school children were vulnerable to abuses, hence, required protection.
Oke-Osanyintolu, who was represented by the Director, Social Welfare, of the ministry, Mrs Toyin Jaiyeola, said that there was the need to review existing policies and fashion out new strategies to help protect children of school age, amongst others.
”There is the need and importance for continuous collaborations in organising awareness programmes, raising campaigns against all forms of abuse and promoting wellness for peace, justice and safety of our children,” she said.
Mrs Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, the Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, said that ensuring implementation of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in schools should be a joint effort, of different ministries and agencies.
”The truth of the matter is children are dying, the truth of the matter is children are not safe,” Seriki-Ayeni said. (NAN)