By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City.
The Edo State Government has said that its social development programmes will prioritise rebranding of the Children Correctional Center as a reformatory facility, protection of the rights of the vulnerable and promotion of initiatives to engage its aged citizens.
Speaking to journalists on the side-lines of the one-day retreat for the State Executive Council members, Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Hon. Maria Edeko, said the plans are in line with Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration’s vision for the ministry.
She noted, “From the strategic plan, we are drawing up work plan that focuses on social development. We have an overall plan to improve our staff through training programmes. There is a need for a hundred degree turn around.”
Edeko said primarily, the ministry will deal with issues relating to vulnerable persons; victims of illegal migration, the aged, persons living with disabilities, women, children and young persons.
She added that the ministry will also engage in activities to get more women into politics, through which it will teach them the basic rules of party politics.
According to her, “the ministry will lead the effort in rebranding the Children Correctional Centre in the state to a reformatory home, where children need to learn, develop skills and talent in areas of sports among others so that when the children come out of the safe home, they will be more useful and productive.”
On the plans for the aged, she said, “We also have plans to provide care for the aged through social activities. We intend to partner with charities willing to donate for such causes. I believe if we do that, we will be able to extend their life expectancy.”
For persons living with disabilities, the commissioner said she would work to domesticate the bill to protect their rights, which has been passed into law at the National level.