Kids write Buhari for protection, friendlier COVID-19 response
- Presidency seeks end to violence as UNICEF lists 36,000 victims
Disturbed by the pervasive gender abuses in the country, kids have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to protect their rights and implement more child-friendly COVID-19 response.
The appeal was contained in a letter to the Nigerian leader written by Girl Child and Youth Ambassadors of Save the Children International, Nigeria, Purity Oriaifo and Maryam Ahmed, to mark the Day of the African Child yesterday.
The event holds yearly to remember hundreds of school children who lost their lives during a peaceful protest for their right to education in Soweto, South Africa on June 16, 1976.
In the correspondence, the writers expressed worry that the government did not “prioritise” protection of children against the COVID-19 pandemic and other abuses.
The kids said they were at risk of infectious diseases and unintended results of the response to the pandemic that brought poor education outcome.
They also feared that the current threats to their safety and protection would reduce the gains achieved towards the implementation and domestication of the Child Rights Act 2003 over the years.
They, however, sought the establishment of at least one specialised children’s court and dedicated enforcement units within the security agencies across the six geo-political zones to fast-track the execution of the law.
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged the commitment of his administration to protect children from sexual violence, domestic abuse and exploitation.
In his goodwill message yesterday to the global event, he said the government would ensure that every Nigerian child had access to quality and affordable education by promoting free and compulsory basic education for the first nine years of schooling.
He deplored the high spate of sexual and physical violence against the girl-child and therefore directed relevant agencies to scale up support for victims and see to the prosecution of offenders.
Also yesterday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said 36,000 Nigerian children were victims of aggression.
In a statement in Bauchi, the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, observed that the most populous black nation was facing a child rights crisis.
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