The Lagos State government has commenced the process of rehabilitating and re-uniting the 80 newly released teenagers from Badagry prison to their families and relatives. The teens were last week Tuesday released by the state Chief Judge, Justice Funmilayo Atilade, during one of her visits to prisons across the state.
Speaking during a visit to the Oregun Correctional Home for Boys, Lagos, where the underage inmates are being rehabilitated, the Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, Pharm. (Mrs.) Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, said the children have since their arrival been subjected to series of tests, including psychiatric test to ascertain the level of their mental alertness and sanity.
She said some of the children who have been able to provide traceable details about their residences, parents or family members have been reunited to their relatives, adding that the government will contact appropriate authorities from other states to come to the centre and identify the remaining children accordingly.
Following the disclosure by the children that over 90 per cent of them were either living with a family member or a single parent, the Commissioner appealed to parents to be committed to the needs of their wards and be wary of sending their children to stay with distant family members who they cannot vouch for.
"My advice to married couples is that they should try as much as possible to guide against divorce because of its attendant effect on children. Parents should spend quality time with their children, provide for them and show care for them so that they will not be easily swayed into crime and vices"
A Consultant Psychiatric with Lagos State College of Medicine (LASUCOM), Dr. Olayinka Atilola, who provides medical care for the children at the centre, disclosed that 20 of them had been reunited with their family members.