A Non-Governmental Organization, Grace Springs Rehabilitation Home Oshodi, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development recently took a bold step in sensitizing Oshodi Community Stakeholders in a day workshop, on the need for Rehabilitation Centers for Juveniles within the age of 10-17 yrs.
The workshop was geared towards enlightening public of the need to have an alternative place, a rehabilitation center, that will serves as a non- residential place for children between the age of 10-17 years old who conflict with the law or likely to be at risk of offending.
The Legislature Building in Oshodi / Isolo LGA, recently, the venue of the event, was a be-hived of activities. Grace Spring Social Welfare Officer, Mr. Idris, said the objective of the program, is to address the root cause(s) of Child Offence, Prevent the Re-offence and to make sure that cases of children in conflict with the law are better handled in a Child- Friendly Fashion.
Explaining the procedure of the NGO, on juvenile cases, he said children can be referred to the program, as a preventive measure and pre-trial, as an alternative sentencing or as part of a probation/supervision order. Adding that the duration program is relatively from 4-6 months per child.
To curb the menace of juvenile delinquent in Oshodi, the Welfare Officer, Districts VI Dr. Kemi, said the duties of the center includes bridging the communication gap on juvenile matters. She pointed out, at the Community Stakeholders that, the hoodlums in Oshodi area are not mainly resident in Oshodi but migrants from rural places in search of greener pasture. She craves the indulgence of the community leaders to watch out for them.
Mr. Babatunde Akinremi seek to know about the high case of offences like Rape and Murder committed by juvenile, meant to be handled in court. He said such cases can be referred to the rehabilitation center, just like less the other offences of pilfering, lying, truancy which are meant to be corrected in the rehab center.
Responding to this enquiry, a Family Court Magistrate Mrs. Nike Adeayo explained that such cases will be heard in Court, then referred to alternative sentencing home for disciplinary action instead of remanding the young culprit in prison which could harden the culprit the more.
Baba Alaje, Alakoso General of Oshodi , High Chief Sesan Ajanaku stressed the need for monitoring and follow-up on juvenile cases. He said, program for the juveniles, must be transparent to ensure success, he also reminded the coordinators, that publicity is highly needed, to prevent and avert crimes by juveniles.
The CDC Secretary at the program, Hon. Ade Marcarthy advocate for the protection of the community leaders, to report crime culprits at the police station. He said, where crimes are left unchecked, it bounces back to hurt the community and endanger lives.
In Response, the OlC Juvenile Welfare Centre (JWC), Makinde Police Station. ASP Ayo Osayande said confidentiality is available to any offence reported as well as keeping the identity of the informant secret, to safe guard their life. The Coordinators at the program include, Mrs. Ade Gbangbon Sheed, Mrs. Lara Ogunboshin, Mr. Kalu Kingsly, Mrs. Accra.