The Rivers State Commissioner of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Mrs. Inime Aguma, has expressed her readiness to partner Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) for proper dissemination of information on girls, women and children in the state.
Mrs. Aguma disclosed this, while receiving the newly elected executive members of NAWOJ at her residence in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
She revealed that the State Government wants the best for the Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation as such does not allow the ministry to be in want without making the provisions once allocation is paid.
The Commissioner stated that presently, lots of renovations and construction works were on-going at the Safe Home and commended the efforts of the Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for the ongoing building at the home in Borokiri
Mrs. Aguma explained that the building will house those with special needs, while stressing that the governor has been supportive in issues that concerns the welfare of the people, especially children.
She said: “During the COVID-19, the ministry distributed enough food items and other relief materials to over twenty registered orphanage homes in the state.
“The ministry is against those practicing unregistered orphanage homes with the intention of harbouring teenage pregnant girls.” She emphasised the ministry’s readiness to go all out to stop such illegal practices in the state.
The Commissioner revealed further that within the safe home complex, there will be Centre for learning to give the inmates a formal education and the provision of a family customary and High courts to ensure that inmates are not taken to the regular court premises.
She stated that the rehabilitation center under total construction, will be commissioned at the end of May, 2021.
While congratulating the new executives of NAWOJ, Mrs. Aguma described their visit to the ministry as a positive step in the right direction, as they were ready to partner with the ministry to amplify the voice of the ministry through their reportage.
The Commissioner said the Ministry is coming up with an agenda for the Violence Against Prohibition Law (VAPL), stressing that the law will contain Sex Offenders Register to be launched soon.
She therefore called on NAWOJ to avail themselves the opportunity to unveil the agenda and it’s implementation as they would help to amplify the voice of the ministry.
Mrs. Aguma said: “The Ministry was setup to provide welfare for people that are indigent, incapacitated through one way or the other and children in conflict with the law and in need of protection.”
The commissioner revealed that the Ministry is in the process of knowing every Orphanage home in the state and shut down any facility that is not licensed to operate in order to curb Child trafficking and those in the practice of housing teenage mother to deliver in their facilities.
She pointed out that the ministry of welfare is a sensitive ministry as such, the ministry is working assiduously to ensure that all applications on her table is treated as soon as possible, regretting that the ministry cannot give what she does not have as there were over 5000 applications for baby adoption.
Mrs. Aguma said: “On the issue of lunatics almost everywhere in Port Harcourt, is a serious challenge confronting the ministry as after clearing lunatics off the streets, they return back weeks after and I think why they returned is because they are making alot of money from here, else if our people stop giving them money they will not return.”
The commissioner described the menace as ‘organized trade, and charged the general public to stop promoting their business.
Speaking earlier, the chairperson, NAWOJ, Rivers State Chapter, Mrs Susan Serekara-Nwikhana, stated that the Nigeria Association of women Journalists (NAWOJ) came to seek partnership with the ministry as well as to formerly introduc the new executive members of NAWOJ to the Head of the Ministry as a way of giving respect to whom it is due.
Nwikhana appealed to the Commissioner to include NAWOJ members in the ministry’s programmes, so they would be able to amplify the voice of the ministry, especially on issues such as Gender-based-violence, the welfare of girls, women and children in the society.
She further appealed to the commissioner to extend the same hands of fellowship she extended to NAWOJ as one of the professional bodies that were under her watch during 2015 campaign season to as well involve NAWOJ in it programmes and activities.