Princess Peace Nnaji, the Enugu State Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, has reiterated the state government’s commitment to the fight against child abuse in the state.
Nnaji gave the assurance in Enugu on Monday when she visited 10-year-old Lawrence Okoronwe, who was allegedly battered with a hot pressing iron by his uncle, Mr Samuel Okoronwe.
Okoronwe and his uncle are indigenes of Okposi in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
The commissioner said that a Non-Governmental Organisation ( NGO), African Network for Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) drew her attention to the incident.
” I immediately informed the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, of the abuse and he mandated the commissioner of police to carry out investigations, so that the perpetrator would be brought to book.
” Gov. Ugwuanyi signed the Child Rights Act to ensure that rights of all children are protected in the state, but look at what is happening.
” People are not considerate, because of N200 this little boy was battered by his uncle.
” We are going to pursue this matter to a logical conclusion and ensure the perpetrator faces the full wrath of the law, ” she said.
Nnaji noted that the governor had promised to take care of the child’s hospital bill and other logistics thereafter.
In his explanation, the victim, Lawrence, told newsmen that his uncle beat him up because of N200.
” Since the day a customer gave me N200, my uncle has not been happy with me and that led to this incident.
” Immediately my uncle knew that the customer gave me N200, he asked me, `Why did you leave the shop and why did you collect this money?’
Prof. Peter Ebigbo, the National President of ANPPCAN Nigeria, said that the organisation was out to ensure justice for the child.
” We have constantly pursued issues of child abuse and neglect and this one is part of it.
” ANPPCAN Nigeria also does advocacy and this issue is abuse and neglect, that is why we have brought this boy to the hospital.
” We are happy that we have found a good company with the Enugu State Government through the Commissioner for Gender Affairs, ” Ebigbo said.