The 27th of May every year is reserved to celebrate the National Children’s Day which provides the opportunity for Nigerian Children to make their desires and aspirations known to the Government and other stakeholders.
The Day is also to honour children, raise awareness on their plights and needs, as well as promote and protect their rights.
The theme for this year’s celebration centers on the “Effect of Covid-19 Pandemic on the total wellbeing of the Nigerian Child: The way Forward”
No doubt the Covid-19 Pandmic had negatively affected all areas of development in Nigeria especially children who were exposed to increased risks of violence including physical and emotional abuse, sexual and gender-based violence among others during the lockdown.
The Pandemic also led to the closure of schools and disrupted economic activities which further increased the exposure of children to child labour, child marriage, kidnapping for ransom, abduction and child trafficking across the country.
According to the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, it was time for genuine action on the part of government and all stakeholders to address the increased threats to the welfare of the Nigerian child heralded by the Covid-19 Pandemic especially by ensuring the full domestication of the Child Rights ACT.
“We must together work towards changing the narratives; and the time to act is now. I therefore urge everyone to rise to the occasion. As custodians of the child Rights Act,2003, we will continue to engage with the reaming 12 states that are yet to domesticate the child rights act while monitoring the implementation level in the states that have domesticated the child rights act.” She said
Dame Pauline Tallen further appealed to the conscience of those who engage in the kidnapping of children for ransom to listen to the voices of Mothers and desist from the mindless act.
The Country Representative of the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, Mr. Peter Hawkins explained that the pandemic had threatened decades of progress made in addressing the plights and welfare of children which had called for the need to double efforts in protecting the Nigerian children.
“we must remember the important role children can play in pushing back the pandemic. Nigerian children are some of the most resilient and we have seen globally, that they are some of the most talented and most ambitious you can find” he said
The Director of Advocacy and Campaign, Save the Children, a non-Governmental Organisation, Mr. Amanuel Mamo said the impact of the pandemic were visible and required the collaboration of all to save a generation and sustain national growth.
Some children said the Covid-19 pandemic had disrupted school activities and brought other challenges they have had to contend with and called on the government to provide facilities in schools that would teach children the ways to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic and introduce alternative means of learning to avoid further disruption of their academic activities.