Nigerian children have identified insecurity, poor health indices, child labour, poor economy and child abuse as factors making the country unfit for them, while calling on the government to prioritise their rights and welfare.
The children made the call during the celebration of the Day of the African Child organised by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in partnership with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
A 15-year-old boy from Kingston College, Lagos, Oshodi Hamzat, said he feels good that the African child is recognised.
While Hamzat is having all his rights met by his parents, he said violence is perpetrated against one in four Nigerian children, adding that most children in the country are exposed to danger, kidnapping, forced into labour and abused.
He, however, called on the Nigerian government to prioritise the rights and welfare of children.
“Children are being kidnapped nearly everyday. Some of us are not safe even in our homes, due to abuse nor are we safe at schools, due to insecurity.
“Our leaders should be more concerned about us; they should not be thinking of their families alone, but also pay attention to the needs of vulnerable children in the country,” he added.
A Junior Secondary School student of Bijamic School, Lagos, Ebule Timothy, said Nigeria and Africa at large can be fit and safe for children if government can harness the natural resources to boost the country and continent, thereby securing the future for them.
In her goodwill message, communication, advocacy and partnership manager, UNICEF Nigeria, Nidhi Joshi, said this year’s celebration of the African child gives the African continent the opportunity to reflect and take stock on child rights issues in Africa, looking at the progress made and challenges that need to be addressed.
Joshi noted that poverty is rising, inequality is growing, and the pandemic has often disrupted the essential services of providing timely health and nutrition services, continuing education and learning, and protecting children and young people.
“We all must commit, all through the year, and more so today, to reinforce the protection mechanisms for all children. As we celebrate African children today, we must act in their best interests and deploy innovative solutions to fast-track learning and health services to build back better for every child in the African continent,” she said.
Children’s Day: UNICEF, Students Canvass Protection Of Child’s Rights(Opens in a new browser tab)