SACA continues partnership with Bayelsa Govt on child safeguarding policy
A non-governmental organization, Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) has continued its partnership with the Bayelsa state government to ensure the safety of children in an environment riddled with oil and gas hazardous activities.
SACA is partnering with the Bayelsa state ministries of Education, Environment, Health, the Catholic Education Board and the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) with support from Misean Cara and St. Patrick’s Missionary Society (SPS) for the safety of children.
The non-governmental organization on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13, held a stakeholders meeting entitled Child Safeguarding Policy Development Forum at the conference hall of the ministry of environment to brainstorm on ways to prevent children from being exposed to harmful effects of oil spills in the state.
The Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri in an opening remarks thanked SACA on its unrelenting efforts towards providing safe environment for children.
Gbaranbiri who was represented by the Director of Climate Change in the ministry, Mr. Ere Wakedei said the ministry of environment considered the issue of the safety of children as important and sensitive, pledging the ministry’s readiness to collaborate with SACA to achieve set goals.
Speaking, the Executive Director of SACA, Mr. Kingsley Ozegbe noted that the child safeguarding project was conceived to create awareness among children and make them to carry out the campaign against its harmful effects.
He said through child safeguarding clubs in schools, children would be taught to write protest letters to the United States, United Kingdom and the UNICEF to seek their intervention towards the stoppage of spilling and emission of harmful substances such as oil and gas into the environment.
He revealed that oil spills was largely responsible for neonatal mortality and birth of abnormal children in areas where oil and gas activities occur.
Also speaking, the chairperson, project management committee of SACA, Dr. Christiana MacDonald who is also the State chairman of NAPPS thanked SACA for doing a great job by providing a child safeguarding policy.
A guest lecturer and child safeguarding officer, St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, Mr. Okusaga Raphael enjoined Bayelsa and other states of the Niger Delta and beyond to enact child safeguarding policies to serve as a guide to the safety of children.
Delivering a brief lecture on the topic: Child Neglect: Health risk arising from oil spillages, a medical professional, Dr. Wilcox Izibeya advised government and all stakeholders to collaborate with SACA to fight the menace of environmental degradation to a standstill.
Other stakeholders commended SACA on her efforts in ensuring that children in Bayelsa and the Niger Delta where oil and gas exploration and exploitation are domiciled also enjoy hazard free environment.