Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday identified dysfunctional family background as one of the major reasons for rising cases of domestic violence, just as he advocated the need for parents to imbibe in their wards the virtues of honesty, respect, morality, good neighborliness, peace and love. Governor Ambode, who spoke at the Lagos House at the family day celebration hosted by the State Government in commemoration of the International Family Day, also said a lot of acts of terror and violence that have ruptured global peace and security could be traced to the absence of strong family ties, and as such parents must spend time with their children no matter how difficult it may be.
The Governor described the family as the smallest but most important unit of the society, saying things can only go right in the country if first addressed in the family.
He said: "Most of the recorded incidence of domestic violence are as a result of dysfunctional family backgrounds. Our traditional family cohesion and bond has been weakened due to daily life challenges of trying to make ends meet.
"We must, as a matter of urgency, in spite of the demanding pace of life pause and find time to reconnect with our families. Our families need us; our children need us. The family always provides emotional support in times of need. We have family members in need of emotional, physical and moral support. The support and encouragement given to a family member today can prevent a violent act of terror or suicide tomorrow."
Speaking on the essence of the international celebration which was designated by the United Nations, Governor Ambode said everyone was born into a family and that the most important moments of people's lives have taken place in the family, saying it was for that reason that the international body places a lot of emphasis on the family as a key factor in human relations thereby setting aside May 15 every year to celebrate the value of the family bond across ethnic, religious, social and economic divide.
On the part of the Lagos State Government, Governor Ambode assured that his administration would continue to provide the necessary infrastructural and institutional support for the family, adding that government would soon embark on building of world class Leisure Parks.
He added: "One of the crucial infrastructure that the government has put in place to encourage family bonding is the establishment of Parks and Gardens in various strategic locations across the state. I am happy to note that these facilities have become the convergence point for families to relax not only during festive occasions but also on weekdays and weekends. In addition, this administration has started the process of building new world class leisure parks.
"As we celebrate the international day of the family today, I urge you all to spend more time with your family, especially with our children. A hug or a smilie goes a long way in boosting the morale of family members. If we want to get the society right, we must get the family right. We must start at the family to reintroduce the norms and the values which we grew up with. Our families must must reintroduce and imbibe the virtues of honesty, respect, morality, good neighborliness, peace and love. We must work towards living in harmony with family members and ensuring safety of lives through healthy practices."
Earlier, the wife of the Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode said without communication, social interaction, love and mutual respect for one another, a family can hardly be united or peaceful.
She said women and children deserved to be respected and pampered, adding that such was needed to avoid domestic violence.
The theme of this year's celebration is 'Families, Healthy Lives And Sustainable Future.'
Some of the dignitaries that graced the event include members of the State Executive council led by Governor Ambode; Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Idiat Oluranti-Adebule; former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Sosan; Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, among others.