We Remain Committed To The Welfare, Protection Of Children – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the protection and overall welfare of children across the nation.
In a statement made available on May 27 (Children’s Day), he said this year’s celebration themed “Creating Safe Spaces for Children: Our Collective Responsibility” is an opportunity to promote the safety and security of the children.
The President also stated that it is a day to “reflect on our roles and responsibilities as Parents and Leaders towards our children” and assess how far we have fared in this regard.
“As a responsible Government, we are committed to ensuring that children are protected from violence and exploitation against them, and, that their environments are safe enough for them to pursue their educational attainments, discover their full potentials to grow into responsible citizens.”
Speaking further, he scored his administration high, stating that it has recorded measurable success particularly in the home-grown school feeding programme.
According to the president, over 8.2 million children in 24 states of the Federation benefit from the programme.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to also support the cause.
President Buhari also recalled his encounter with three children while he was on medical vacation in 2017.
He said he was very impressed by their deeds which in turn strengthened his administration’s resolve to ensure that all children are physically and intellectually prepared for the future.
“I am always inspired and encouraged when I remember encounters I had with three of our young ones. When I was on medical vacation in 2017, three-year-old Maya Jammal recorded a prayer for my recovery, which went viral online.
“Also, 10-year-old Aisha Aliyu Gebbi wrote a personal letter to me, describing herself as my “biggest fan”.
“Nicole Benson, then 12 years old, had contributed the sum of Five Thousand, Seven Hundred Naira and Eighty-Five kobo (N5,700.85) to my campaign in 2015. The money was all saved up from her lunch and pocket allowance. There are millions of such children nationwide.
“I am very impressed by what our children have been able to do, and what the future holds for them. That is one reason why we are committed to the school feeding programme, to prepare a future generation of physically and intellectually robust children. At the last count, over 8.2 million children in 24 states of the Federation are being given free meals daily. This happens in 45,000 schools around the country.
“I, therefore, call on all stakeholders to support this programme to ensure that all the 36 States of the Federation and FCT are covered. This will promote substantially higher enrolment levels in our schools,” he said.
He also mentioned other critical steps the administration has taken to address issues of child protection, participation and survival.
He said, “In 2015, the campaign to end violence against children was launched which was commemorated in 2016. In November 2016, the Campaign to End Child Marriage was also launched to ensure that as many children as possible can fully enjoy their childhood and be protected from all the challenges associated with this phenomenon.
“These campaigns have been reinforced with sensitization campaigns in some States of the Federation.”
Furthermore, as part of efforts to prevent abuse, exploitation and trafficking as well as provide safe, non-violent inclusive and effective learning environment in schools, Buhari said his administration has directed the management of all Federal Government Colleges as well as state-owned schools across the country to provide adequate safety measures for their students.
He also called on families, security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil society organizations, human rights activists, and the society at large to rise up and take urgent and decisive actions to stem the unacceptable rising cases of violence against our children.
Buhari also appealed to parents not to relent in their efforts to send their wards to school and called on security agencies to redouble their efforts in protecting children.
He said, “We must ensure the safety of our children in homes, schools, markets, worship centres, on the streets and everywhere at all times.
“Furthermore, let me use this medium to appeal to parents not to relent in their efforts to send their wards to school, especially the girl child as her education reduces infant and maternal mortality and prevents early and child marriages. It also increases literacy and reduces poverty. The saying that to educate a woman is to educate the nation is very apt in this regard.
“Finally, while I appreciate the security agencies for their efforts so far, I urge them to redouble their efforts in protecting children from danger and violence in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Child Rights Acts, 2003.
“Once again, happy Children’s Day”.