Ade Ipaye, the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, on Wednesday said over 500 cases of child defilement cases were reported in the state this year.
Ipaye disclosed this at a Human Rights Essay and Debate Competition organised for private and public schools in Lagos by the Directorate for Citizen’s Rights.
The competition was part of activities marking the 2014 World Human Rights Day with the theme: “The Rights of the Child.”
The commissioner said: “This year’s theme was carefully picked in the light of the fact that in the last one year, more than 500 cases of defilement of minors were reported in Lagos.
“We know that children contend with several challenges on daily basis.
“However, the onus is on parents and guardians to ensure that each child is given necessary care and attention.”
Ipaye said that the principle of human rights should be inculcated in the youths at their earliest formative stage.
He added that this would ensure that youths imbibed the principles of fairness, non-discrimination, inclusiveness and respect for fellow-beings, irrespective of age.
The Lagos State attorney-general said that the success of all the laws and policies protecting the rights of children depended largely on the cooperation of members of the society.
“I will like to use the opportunity of this occasion to enjoin all residents to partner with government in ensuring that the rights of our children are safeguarded,” he pleaded.
In her lecture, a human rights lawyer, Funmi Falana, said that the Child Rights Act 2003 had not been domesticated in 12 states of the federation.
Falana urged government at all levels to intensify efforts at improving the standard of education through effective funding, sound and workable policies.
She said: “Children’s education in Nigeria is nothing to boast about.
“Education is beginning to become commercialised.
“Pondering over the state of the Nigerian child, my heart aches because of the environment they are living and the state of their education.
“Some of these children roam the streets with tattered clothes, with no help from any quarter.
“Some do not even believe in education again, but I believe all these can be corrected with the help of government.”