By Justina Auta
Some students of Junior Secondary School (JSS) Gwagwalada, FCT, on Wednesday called for an end to security challenges and improved access to quality education as part of their human rights.
The students made the call at a sensitisation visit by an NGO, Save the Children Nigeria, with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherland in commemoration of the 2021 Day of the African Child.
Asukwo Emmanuel, a JSS 3 students, while making a presentation on the state of African nations, appealed to the Federal Government to respect the rights of children and implement policies that will guarantee their safety, protection and improve access to the rights and welfare of children.
Emmanuel emphasised the need for improved access to free quality education, good nutrition, healthy living and rights to be heard free, devoid from discrimination and bigotry.
Also, Miss Pascaline Ukwuaba, another student, while expressing concern over increasing cases of kidnapping in schools, urged the government to address to security challenges affecting the nation, which had also increased the number of school dropouts and crime rates.
” We need more security presence in schools, we are future leaders, we need to be protected from kidnapping and other criminal vices,” she said.
Ukwuaba added that improved access to education would reduce poverty, school dropouts, early marriages, violence and other harmful practices against children, as well as other negative vices.
Principal, JSS, Mrs Florence Okonkwo, commended the organisation for its supports to the school.
Okonkwo, represented by the Vice Principal, Administration, Mr Baba Samaila, also appealed to the government to address the issue of insecurity, especially as it affects the education system.
Earlier, Edith Nankiling-Gumut, Advocacy, Campaign and Policy Manager, Be Protected, Save the Children, said the current security situation in the country necessitated urgent action to protect the rights of children.
Gumut said that the surge of kidnapping had made schools no longer safe for students, increased poverty, as well as increase recorded cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) affecting children.
” There have been perennial conflicts across many states of the federation and we also have issues of poor education.
” This is further aggravated with the surge of kidnapping, abductions in schools and our schools are no longer safe.
” And, we also have the issue of sexual violence against children and it has continued to prevail,” she said.
She, therefore, emphasised on the need to protect the rights of the child in regards to education, protection and safety.
According to her, some of the challenges affecting the African Child include poor medical facilities, hunger, poverty, malnutrition, poor education, conflict, violence, discrimination amongst others.
” We demand the promotion of the rights of children with regards to education, protection and survival.
” Every child has the right to be protected.
” We are calling out on all leaders at all level of governance, community level and stakeholders to come together and see how we can promote the rights of children especially with issues of education.
” We need to have safe school,let these children be protected and have access to good health and nutrition so that they can grow up strong and survive,” she said.
She said that the advocacy visit to the school was to further sensitise the students on the challenges and measures necessary to overcome them.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other highlights of the events include distribution of school materials, poem recitation, drama and song presentation, topic discussions and graffiti on Africa by the students. (NAN)