Minister lauds NGO on children’s safety

Lai Mohammed

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, has commended an NGO, Children Accident Prevention Initiative (CAPI), for ensuring the safety of school children on the road.

The minister gave the commendation on Friday in Abuja when a delegation of CAPI executive, led by its National Coordinator, Mr. Stephen Akujobi paid him a courtesy visit.

He urged the delegation to widen its advocacy to states and local government areas to ensure that government at the two levels were involved in the task of safeguarding school children.

According to him, the various tiers of government must be able to buy buses for public schools at it were in the past.

“Countries are evaluated based on how much they take care of the most vulnerable people: the young, children, physically challenged, women, and the elderly, in their societies.

“For CAPI to come up with this initiative, it is very laudable and I must say that apart from NATO, you also need to partner NURTW, Motorcycle Riders Association and other stakeholders,” he said.

He said the call for partnership with motorcycle operators was because greater percentages of accidents involving children were through motorcycles.

The minister pledged to use the various communication channels available to the ministry to support the NGO to ensure adherence to traffic rules among stakeholders in transportation sector.

Earlier, Akujobi said the visit was to solicit the support of the minister in terms of advocacy and to inform him of the planned national inauguration of the initiative.

Akujobi, who did not specify the date of the inauguration of the initiative, said CAPI came into existence due to increasing rate of death among school children on roads.

He stressed the need for stakeholders in the safety of children to ensure their protection.

Akujobi said the first phase of the initiative started in 2010 with a two- year pilot programme.

According to him, at first instance, CAPI partners with the Ministry of Education and the Federal Road Safety Commission for the realisation of the objectives of the NGO.

He said CAPI had concluded plans to ensure children put on reflective jackets and hand bands when going to school to make them more visible on the road.

The national coordinator said CAPI would ensure construction of zebra crossing at every corridor where schools were located and where children had difficulties crossing roads.

“We are introducing modern zebra crossing system, speed breakers and distribute first aid boxes to all public schools for taking care of major accidents.

“We will also station ambulances in all the local government areas and build emergency clinics to take care of children involved in an accident.” he said.