The Delta State Government said on Monday that between 2017 and 2018, it returned no fewer than 160 children being maltreated by their guardians across the state back to their families.
Bridget Anyafulu, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, on Child Right Advocacy, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba, the state capital.
Mrs Anyafulu said the children were fished out during the advocacy campaign on child right carried out by her office in the state within the period.
She also disclosed that more than 30 parents and guardians were arrested in the process but noted that most of them promised to ensure that their wards and children got back to school.
She said 80 of the children were returned to their families in 2017 while the rest 80 were returned in 2018.
“But for the vulnerable children who do not have parents, the state government keeps them and takes responsibility of their upkeep and their education,’’ she added.
The SSA said her office was created because of the need to properly implement the Child Right Act in the state.
“We simplified the act for citizens to go through it and understand it.
“After that, we went round the state to seek for partners such as parents, school teachers, community leaders, religious leaders and even children themselves.
“Having established all these, we sent letters to the various stakeholders who agreed that they would partner with government by ensuring that the Child Right Act was adhered to.
“They also promised the state government that they would ensure that every child in their community went to school at the right time,’’ Mr Anyafulu said.
She further said that the governor also approved the constitution of the State Implementation Committee and directed local government council chairmen in state to do same.
Mr Anyafulu said in carrying out the advocacy, “we found out that children didn’t go to school early and sometime they didn’t even go at all.
“We needed to find out why they didn’t go to school early and we discovered that 98 per cent of those who went to school late, were house helps.
“Child Right Act frowns at that, because it is important that every child gets to school latest at 7:40am.
“Getting to school early will ensure that teachers can start teaching immediately at 8am after assembly.
“And we also found out that most of these children are not from Delta state. They were children brought from other states by aunties, uncles and relatives.
“These aunties and uncles must have lied to the parents of such children, by promising them that they would send their children to school,” she noted.
Mrs Anyafulu said the advocacy has helped to reduce the number of out-of-school children and child battering in the state.