By Musa Adamu
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has passed a resolution asking the state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, to direct the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, and other relevant Agencies to immediately evacuate vulnerable children from the streets.
The House also urged religious leaders, traditional rulers, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and other stakeholders to intensity sensitization and reorientation programs on all ills and other forms of child abuse.
The decision was taken after deliberations on a ‘motion against street begging and child hawking in Uyo metropolis’ which was sponsored by the member representing Ini State Constituency and Chief Whip of the House, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Bassey at Plenary on Tuesday.
Leading the debate on the motion, Rt. Hon. Bassey described child street hawking as an ugly development which typifies child abuse, adding that the situation clearly negates the objectives of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of the Child, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Child Rights Law of Akwa Ibom State.
He cited the risks faced by child hawkers to include road accidents, savages, intimate predators, sexual abuse amongst other uncountable dangerous consequences.
“Children are exposed to kidnapping, while others are initiated by hoodlums into robbery, cultism, weapon trafficking, drugs, to mention just a few. The consequences of these acts include unwanted pregnancies, illegal abortions, psychological trauma, insecurity, frustration, psycho-social disorientation and largely paint the state in a bad picture to the outside world”, he said.
The house said the upsurge in street begging and hawking by underage children within Uyo metropolis was alarming, hence the need for them to be taken off the streets.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Aniekan Bassey in his remarks, directed the Clerk, Mrs. Mandu Umoren to communicate the resolution of the House to the appropriate quarters.
Also, at the plenary, the House passed the Akwa Ibom State Lottery Board Bill into law, while the Akwa Ibom State College of Education Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020 scaled through Second Reading and was committed to the House Committee on Education for indepth study and to report back within one month.