Ochanya: Kogi Senatorial candidate calls for review of social welfare policies

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A candidate for 2019 Kogi central election has condemned the death of 13-year old Ochanya Obanje following complications of abuse by her uncle and his son – Natasha Akpoti called for a review of Nigeria’s social welfare policies – Akpoti urged lawmakers of the National Assembly to consolidate on all existing Social Welfare policies into a comprehensive law A female candidate in the Kogi central Senatorial race, Natasha Akopti, on Monday, October 29, called for a review of Nigeria’s social welfare policies.

Akpoti, social reformer, and candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2019 Senatorial election urged the National Assembly to consolidate on all existing Social Welfare policies into a comprehensive law.

Reacting to abuse of 13-year old Ochanya Ogbanje, who died as a result of complications from Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) following rape by her uncle and his son, Andrew and Victor, Akpoti, said such move law would specifically create sections to address the welfare of vulnerable people in Nigeria.

Akpoti said: “The Nigerian constitution must guarantee fair and ethical treatment of children (both male and female) by creating laws to protect them against all sexual, emotional, physical and emotional abuse, adding that Social Service Law should be created.”

The Kogi Central senatorial candidate said that specially equipped police units must be established to uphold Child Protection laws and interface with Social Services agencies and organizations. She called for dedicated simple response lines such as 555 or 333 should be created for the abused children to call for help. Expressing her devastation on the death of Ochanya, Akpoti urged relevant authorities to rise up against the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

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We are all Ochanya until the offenders are severely punished and Laws specifically protecting children against sexual exploitation and abuse are passed. Child abuse often breeds a damaged adult.

Therefore, medical treatment and counseling is extremely important,” Akpoti said. Further maintaining that public health services should be created for the abused children especially those on the streets, Akpoti said, education, healthcare and shelter must be of necessary service to the vulnerable children.

“The ministry of health must steps to ensure that all government owned hospitals offer every abused child access to free and effective medical help. This shouldn’t be left for NGOs alone,” she said. “Nigerian judicial system has a huge role to play in interpreting the laws and morality with regards to the protection of children.

“Teachers, neighbors & family members who fail to report a known or perceived sexual or emotional abuse towards a child should be punished as an accomplice to the offense against the child.

“The above legal and administrative reforms are extremely crucial in protecting the lives and rights of any child within the Nigerian territory. “We must demand justice be done for little Ochanya because no child deserves to live and die in such mystery,” she added.

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