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British envoy urges collaboration for children’s welfare


British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, has called for effective collaboration by stakeholders to improve children’s welfare.

Noting that the world is 10 years away from the deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Thompson stressed the need for the private sector and youths to brainstorm on ideas for a better Nigeria.She stated this at an event co-sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and British Deputy High Commissioner to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Right of the Child (CRC) at her Lagos residence.

The envoy noted that children were angry over how badly the grown-ups were working towards achieving those goals.“It is 30 years that we made this commitment. This event is a reminder that we’ve got a long way to go until those rights of a child are properly ensured and implemented right across the world,” she added.

However, Thompson said that some progress had been made despite pockets of inhuman treatment meted out on some children. “I will say that national governments, families and communities have the responsibility to accord the children those rights.”Also, the event hosted leaders of the private sector and the entertainment industry.Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, read his poem ‘A Child before a Mirror of Strangers’ and dedicated it to children around the world in commemoration of the CRC.Prof. Soyinka said that the bond of childhood holds every human being.

According to him, everyone has the responsibility to protect and preserve the integrity of that common bond, which is pertinent to all humanity. Also, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Peter Hawkins, said that a strong push should be made by all for Nigeria to meet the SDGs by 2030.He noted that the private sector could be key in unlocking opportunities for young people, addressing poverty, combating inequality and tackling environmental problems.

Hawkins disclosed that child rights and the SDGs needed to be integrated into business principles, strategies and plans, which, in turn, could contribute to more robust and inclusive economic growth and employment of young people.

“These children are actually a global phenomenon, and Nigeria is no exemption.“Nigeria has a very high rate of abuse of children, whether at school, home or on the streets. The problems are reporting.“We have trained social workers to develop the child protection information system, so that reports can go through and the authorities can do something about them,” he added.


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Harriet ThompsonUNICEF
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