YUMBE. Chairperson for Uganda Parliamentary forum for children, Mr Bernard Atiku has urged the clergy to use the pulpits to also advocate against child abuses in the communities.

Atiku who is the member of parliament for Ayivu but now contest to become the MP for Ayivu West was speaking to catholic clergy from Yumbe, Arua and Terego districts during a training organized by Lodonga Space on child abuse and child protection on Wednesday at Lodonga Minor Basilica.

Atiku said it’s the responsibility of all stakeholders to collaborate with the government that has the core mandate in the affairs of children’s rights duty to prepare them as future developers.

Atiku emphasized that responsibilities played by stakeholders will add on the spirit of East African Community convention that has also priorities on issues to do with child protection following child trafficking which he said is on the increase across East African borders.

He said the rate at which children have been trafficked in the recent days across East Africa, has risen, an act that has been halted because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When somebody talks about protection of children, it means there are issues of insecurity out there that will affect welfare, livelihood and growth of children” Atiku stressed.

He cautioned parents who surrender their children anyhow to strangers who come in the cover of providing them education and raising them, but end up ruining such children’s future by recruiting them into terrorist bodies like the Al-shabab.

“People come to request for children from parents with promises of educating them and upbringing them. There are parents who have surrendered their children as orphans when they are still alive, just because they think they are sending their children to a better place, forgetting that some people come with ulterior motives”, Atiku stressed.

MP Benard AtikuuuMP Benard Atiku. PHOTOS BY JOSEPH ODAMA.

Children’s Act of 2016 and Article 34 of the constitution of Uganda provides for protection of children as they have the right to protection by parents and those entitled by law for their upright upbringing.

Director of Lodonga Space Fr ‘Bayo Augustin who is also the organizer of the training said the aim of the training was to enlighten the clergy, including the catechists and other community leaders on the importance of safeguarding and protecting children in the current error when child abuse is on the increase.

He said once catechists are equipped with basic knowledge on children’s rights and child abuse, they can help their own families and the communities to understand dynamics of how to avert child abuse.

Fr Bayo noted that many people do not bother about dangers of child abuse because they take the matter for granted, not knowing that such abuses negatively affect growth of children

“The training I have been attaining here have really opened my mind and after here I will be going back to pass the knowledge to my Christians’ so that they know about children’s rights and dangers of child abuse” Catechist Gasper Alionzi from Ombokoro Chapel in Lugbari parish said.

He identified domestic violence as one of the biggest factors resulting into increasing cases of child abuses in the communities.