The Lagos State Government, in collaboration with UNICEF and Grace Spring Rehabilitation Home, has empowered 13 child offenders with different entrepreneurial skills at its first community diversion programme which was inaugurated July 2017 to rehabilitate children in conflict with the law and unite them with their respective families.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony for the rehabilitated children at the Recreational Hall, Illupeju, the State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri said that the children have a chance to be great in life irrespective of their previous offence due to social factors.
Dabiri, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola advised the children that they have their destinies in their hands and that they should believe in themselves and their ability to excel in life.
In his words, “We are proud of you, most especially the milestone you have achieved to be corrected, reunited and empowered with skills. Yes, they say God gave everyone destiny, but you are responsible for what you become in life”.
He said the programme which is designed for vulnerable kids and children in conflict or at risk of being in conflict with the law is an expression of Governor Ambode’s all-inclusive governance to protect the rights and interest of children.
The Commissioner assured Lagosians that the diversion community rehabilitation programme will be extended to other parts of the State and urged parents not to impose their interest on children in sensitive areas of life.
UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Dr. Wilfred Momah said the partnership with Lagos State Government on the rehabilitation programme is as a result of government model of operation to show love, care and affection to vulnerable children in the society.
He called on other states of the federation to emulate Lagos State in giving hope and future to the children who have been influenced negatively by the society which is a disadvantage to any government.
The President, Grace Springs Rehabilitation Home, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya said Nigeria is blessed with great potential in youths, but solace in the streets and unpleasant places has swayed youths away from the attainment of great heights.
He thanked Lagos State Government for stepping in to address the silent need of the society which is often overlooked, whereas holds the key to the future of the country.