Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, has joined her Sierra Leone and Angolan counterparts, Dr. Fatima Bio and Dr. Anas Lorenco, to commemorate the first anniversary of UN World Day for the protection of the girl-child.
The celebration, which held at the Winners Chapel International in Freetown, Sierra Leone, focused on prevention and healing from child sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence.
Tinubu, in her remarks, said that the soul of a nation is measured by how it treats its children.
According to her, setting aside a day to look at the menace, underscores the gravity of the effects of such abuse on the girl child.
“It is an alarm call for all nations of the world to end such abuse because it tarnishes the essence of humanity.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that every child grows up in an environment that is safe, nurturing, and free from harm.
“Equally important is the healing from the trauma of abuse; we must support survivors in their journey to recovery. The scars of abuse run deep, but with the right resources, therapy, love, and support, we can help survivors regain strength.
“We must help them to heal and rebuild their lives; their stories are not just tales of pain; they are stories of resilience, hope, courage, and triumph.’’
Earlier, Lorenco emphasized the need for all African nations to come together to give survivors a voice and a new lease of life.
“The story is the same everywhere, but as mothers and concerned people, we are with the survivors,’’ she said.
The Chief Judge of Sierra Leone, Justice Desmond Babatunde, assured the women that the judiciary would bring every perpetrator of such abuse to justice.
“There cannot be healing without justice,” she declared.
There were testimonies by survivors, after which the first ladies of Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Angola presented scholarships to 130 survivors.
The scholarships—Le100,000,000 (N4 million) each—cover university education, vocational training, start-up business capital, and other categories.
Available statistics show that one in every four girls and one in every nine boys have been sexually exploited, abused, or violated.
November 18 was declared last year by the United Nations as the World Day for the prevention of and healing from child sex exploitation, abuse, and violence.
The day, which was initiated by Sierra Leone and co-sponsored by Nigeria in 2021, has achieved its objectives of effectively educating and steering action to eliminate the social menace.
Healing prayers were offered for the survivors by different church leaders, including the host church’s national resident pastor, Moses Olasunkanmi, and the Catholic Vatican’s archbishop, Charles Tamba, among others.
Nigeria’s global gospel music superstar, Osinachi Kalu, popularly called Sinach, thrilled the audience with outstanding performances in commemoration of the day.