By Ebenezer Ishola
Lagos State First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu on Monday renewed the call on the United Nations to fully recognize May 16 as the International Day of the Boy Child in order to deepen initiatives and interventions targeted at promoting the interest, welfare, and wellbeing of the Boy Child globally.
The First Lady spoke at the inaugural Parenting Seminar as part of the Boy Child Initiative of her office held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, with the theme: “Parenting The 21st Century Boy Child: A Pathway To Transformation.”
The seminar for parents is the third leg of the Boy Child Initiative to commemorate the international celebration and it was well attended by stakeholders drawn from various groups including wives of government officials, government functionaries, traditional and community leaders, market associations, religious and professional bodies, security agencies, youth voluntary groups, orphanages, correctional facilities, and people living with disabilities, among others.
According to the First Lady, the seminar was aimed at ensuring that parents have an in-depth understanding of the nitty-gritty of effective approaches to the upbringing of the boy child in order to address the social vices such as rape, drug abuse, cultism, bullying, and others.
Sanwo-Olu said having earlier organized an advocacy walk, formal launch, and a 3-day residential workshop for boys selected from across the state to extensively address topics of interest to boys, her office decided to follow up the interventions with a seminar on how effective parenting can lay the foundation for promoting family values and civic responsibility.
“Our Boy Child Interventions are aimed at making a positive difference. It is gratifying that it is already catching the fancy of the International Community, and I must say we are open to partnerships to scale up our programs to support the boy child and secure their future.
“Parents have a lot to do to address the plight of the boy child. The issue of the boy child is a burning one that parents must pay special attention to because if we don’t, the boy child is at risk.
“As parents, for instance, we need to desist from exerting pressure on our boys; we need to kick out drug abuse; we just have to focus on all issues affecting the boy child,” the First Lady said.
In all, there were three lectures on the Importance of sex education in birthing a sexual and gender-based violence-free society; mental health issues in children: early signs and preventive measures; and parenting: our civic responsibility and its overall impact on nation-building, while there was a panel session on parenting the boy child in the 21st century: the journey, challenges, and solutions, facilitated by subject-matter experts including the Chief Operations Officer of Cece Yara Foundation, Mrs. Bisi Ajayi-Kayode; Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Olusegun Ogunnubi; and Founder of International Parent Network, Mrs. Wendy Ologe.
The panel session was moderated by the Founder of Boy Child Transformation Centre, Mrs. Nkiru Oguadinma, while panelists included Hon Justice Jumoke Pedro of the Lagos State High Court; Dr. Dokun Adedeji of the Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM); DCP Fayoade Adegoke of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti; Controller Adewale Adebisi, Controller of Corrections, Nigerian Correctional Service, Lagos State Command; Consultant General Surgeon and Imam, Dr. Sayeid Ahmad; and Mrs. Ologe.
They all harped on the need for parents to give quality time to their children and improve the communication line in the family, while also leading by example to teach boys good values, especially the need to respect the rights of others.
There was also a cohort break-out session where participants critically examined the challenges with the upbringing of the boy child, and proffered solutions, while there was a special performance of Ewi (a genre of Yoruba poetry) by secondary school students in the state also emphasizing the need for parents to pay keen attention to the training of the boy child.
Stakeholders in attendance included the five blocs of Christian Association of Nigeria led by the Lagos State Chairman, Bishop S.T.V Adegbite; five divisional Imams in Lagos led by the representative of the Chief Imam of Lagos; White Cap Chiefs, Oba of Oregun, top government functionaries, Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, and the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Correctional Service, Red Cross, Legion, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association, Naval Officers´ Wives Association, and Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association.
Other organizations in attendance included the Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Movement for Islamic Culture and Awareness (MICA), Ohaneze Women Group, National Youth Council, Lagos Integrity Group, Sanwolu-Hamzat Group, Instructors of Correctional Centres in Lagos State, Omoluabi Eko Integrity Group, Counsellors/ Teachers in five administrative divisions of Lagos, SWEEP Foundation, Anwar-ul-Islam Association, Arewa Women Group, Lanre Awolokun High School Gbagada, Lagos; Boys Brigade, Methodist Church, Ereko; Alhuda Al-mukhtariyah International Prayer Mission/Muhammed Rosulluh Global family, Home of God’s Grace, Sought After Women and Children’s Home and Hope for All Africa Orphanage.
Others are Little Saints Orphanage, Royal Diamond Orphanage, Peculiar Saints Orphanage, Imolede Network Sisters, Flames of Fire Ministry, Save The Boy Child Initiative, Market Leaders, Community Development Officers, Federation of Muslim Women Of Nigeria, People Living With Disabilities, ABATSECO Political Group, Islamic Education And Faith Initiative and the THEMES Ambassador.