By Justina Auta
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has stressed the need for an enabling environment to make children grow into responsible adults.
She made the call in Abuja on Thursday during the 2021 National Children’s Day celebration with the
theme “Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on the total wellbeing of the Nigerian Child: The way Forward.”
According to her, concrete steps must be taken to promote the survival, protection, development and
participation of Nigerian children into the nation’s scheme of affairs.
She said “we cannot allow evil-minded persons to continue to inflict and pose grave dangers to our children.
“If we do not provide an enabling environment for children to grow as responsible adults, they will surely come back to haunt us.”
She, therefore, called on parents and well-meaning Nigerians to ensure proper nurturing and upbringing of their children and wards.
The minister also encouraged children to be of good behaviour at all times, ensure they took their education seriously and obey constituted authorities at home and in schools.
The minister noted that the impact of the COVID-19 on women and children, had further exposed them to extreme poverty, school drop out, hunger, increase in child mortality and street children and other firms of violence, particularly for rural children.
She said the domestication of the Child Rights Act 2003 and VAPP Act 2015 in all the states would promote the wellbeing, welfare and protection of children and their rights.
Rushnan Murtaza, Deputy Representative, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, stressed the need to review safeguarding policies and processes for the protection and development of children.
She said “we must act in their best interests and deploy innovative solutions, including low-cost technology to fast-track learning and health services for every Nigerian child.”
Dr Zubaida Abubakar, Representative of UN Population Fund (UNFPA), reiterated the commitment of the organisation toward promoting the reproductive health rights of women and children.
Adetayo Erinle, Executive Director, Tabitha Cumi Foundation, urged stakeholders to raise their voices and actions toward safeguarding children, providing safe learning environments and communities for them to thrive.
Erinle disclosed that the organisation was working on a project — “Flash Light Actions on Girls Safety (FLAGS) — to create safe spaces for 750 marginalised girls in FCT, Niger and Nasarawa states to prevent and respond to GBV cases.
The Speaker of the FCT Children’s Parliament, Miss Mitchell Chukuwma, urged leaders to stop paying lip service to the passage and implementation of the Child Rights Act and to proactively ensure implementation.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of a painting on hope for survivors of GBV to President Muhammadu Buhari by 11-year-old Master Anyan Okeke, a child with autism.
There was also a cultural dance performance by school children and distribution of books, as well as presentation of awards in various academic competitions to winners. (NAN)