By Justina Auta
A child rights group, Save the Children, has urged Federal Government and donors to address the deepening education problems caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
The group made the call in a statement on Thursday signed by Amanuel Mamo, the group’s Director of Advocacy and Campaign in commemoration of the annual Children’s Day celebration in Abuja.
The 2021 National Children’s Day celebration has “Effects of COVID–19 Pandemic on the total well-being of the Nigerian Child: The Way Forward” as its theme.
Mamo said COVID-19 had affected the wellbeing and education of children from poorer backgrounds and widened inequality gaps between the rich and poor, boys and girls, education, food and protection risks.
He urged governments and donors to protect the learning and well-being of a generation of children and youth and address the deepening education crisis as a result of COVID-19.
He said “by committing funding to deliver on a global education action plan to ensure safe return to school for all children, including in Nigeria.”
He described attacks on schools, kidnapping and other forms of violence on children as grave human rights violation and the lack of basic decency.
“As if COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on children are not enough, the constant attack on schools and kidnapping of children in some parts of the country has increased the trauma children experience daily, limiting their opportunities to survive, learn and be protected.
“Every child in Nigeria deserves to enjoy the right to have free, safe, inclusive, quality and uninterrupted education. Attacks on schools are grave human rights violation and lack of basic decency,” he said.
While reiterating the organisation’s commitment toward giving children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm, he called for solutions to reverse the effects and scale up the gains to achieve child rights.
According to him, the organisation donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) materials, Medical Supplies and Oxygen Devices worth N108 million to support the response actions in Lagos, Jigawa and FCT Administration.
He added that over 4,500 solar powered radio handsets were distributed to the most vulnerable children within targeted communities in the North East to enhance their ability to participate in radio home learning programmes.(NAN)