As Nigeria joins the international community to celebrate the Day of the African Child, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged the commitment of government to protect children from sexual violence, domestic abuse and exploitation.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, speaking on the Day, stressed the importance of education and basic necessities for children.
Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in te 2019 election, Mr. Peter Obi, said to build an assured future, we have to remain committed to the growth of the African child.
In a statement by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser (Media & Publicity), President Buhari also stressed that his administration will continue to ensure that every Nigerian child has access to quality and affordable education by promoting free and compulsory basic education for the first nine years of schooling.
President Buhari expressed concern on the recent spate of sexual and physical violence on the girl-child and directed relevant government agencies to scale up support for victims of violence and ensure that those who have infringed on their rights face the full weight of our laws.
The President affirmed that it is the right of every Nigerian child to be protected from sexual or physical violence and abuse, and to enjoy an environment conducive for learning and development.
President Buhari further affirmed that the safety of every Nigerian child remains paramount and that government will continue to do all within its means to protect children from violence and abuse.
The President recognised that this year’s commemorative activities with the theme, ”Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa,” have moved online due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector, the President noted that school-age children have been forced to continue education and learning online, as well as through the electronic media.
Recognizing that not all children have access to the tools and resources to do this, the President assured Nigerians that the priority of the Federal Government is to ensure that things get back to normal as soon as possible.
He said that in dealing with the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; the Federal Government cannot allow education and learning to take the back seat and encouraged all Nigerians to take a moment this day to celebrate the African child, who represents a better future for all.
”Nigeria is blessed with exceptional and remarkable children and this government is ever ready to help the Nigerian child achieve their dreams and build a better tomorrow,’’ he said.
Atiku, who ran as presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 poll, in a tweet, said “a number of the socio-political issues confronting us today can be addressed by educating our children. My experience with the Feed and Read programme I introduced in Yola proved to be a potent alternative from the enticements of Boko Haram.
The scheme, powered by American University of Nigeria, AUN, he said, “provided displaced, orphaned and Almajiri children a daily meal and teaching of basic literacy and numeracy. As a people and governments at all levels, it is critical we give our children education so that they can have a head start in life. “
Mr. Obi, a former governor of Anambra state, also in a tweet, stressed that the importance of commitment to growth of the African child noting that celebration of the Day of the African Child 2020 “is a reminder that the continent we have is because of them and there will be no future without them.”