The United Nations Children Education Fund, UNICEF as joined other stakeholders to commemorate this year’s Nigerian Children’s day .
UNICEF use the opportunity to call on government at all levels to enhance the protection mechanisms for all children.
In a Press Statement made available to Journalists by the UNICEF Communication Officer Lagos office, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor, the children’s day comes at a challenging moment for child rights in the country and the world, with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening gains made for children’s development.
UNICEF Country Director, Peter Hawkins commended Nigeria government and other notable groups in helping children in areas of health, education and security.
Hawkins maintain that “It has been a challenging year for us all with the COVID-19 pandemic – not least of all, Nigeria’s children – and I want to commend efforts at all levels of Nigerian government and society to protect education, health, and protection services in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children.
As we rightfully celebrate Nigerian children today, let us also remember that the COVID-19 crisis has been a child rights crisis – in Nigeria and around the world”
Hawkins futher explain that Poverty is rising, inequality is growing, and the pandemic has often disrupted the essential services that secure the health, education and protection of children and young people.
“The longer the pandemic goes on, the more intense the impact on women and children.
On this Nigerian Children’s Day, let us all agree that we cannot let one crisis compound another.
The pandemic is threatening decades of progress we have made for children.
Violence is perpetrated against one in four Nigerian children – and one in three Nigerian girls are sexually abused. This has only increased during the pandemic” says Peter Hawkins.
The UNICEF head, futher noted children can and should learn both in and out of school.
“A learning continuum is critical, so that all children continue to get an education irrespective of their situation, location, or the pandemic.
Nigerian children are resilient, talented and aspire to do great things. And it is our responsibility to give them the platform and encouragement to do just that.
We know that protecting children and investing in women and families is not only the right thing to do – it has proven to be a sound economic choice and a cost-effective tool for national development.”
Hawkins says as Nigeria celebrate her children today, everyone must act in the best interests and deploy innovative solutions to fast-track learning and health services to build back better, for every Nigerian child.