By Egena Sunday Ode
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.
The President also reiterated that his administration would continue to ensure that every Nigerian child had access to quality and affordable education by promoting free and compulsory basic education for the first nine years of schooling.
A statement by the Presidency spokesman, Garba Shehu said Buhari had 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 had infringed on their rights faced the full weight of the laws.
The statement said the President affirmed that it was 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, According to the statement, further affirmed that the safety of every Nigerian child remained paramount and government would continue to do all within its means to protect children from violence and abuses.
It said the President recognised that this year’s commemorative activities with the theme, ‘’Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa,’’ had 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 had been forced to continue education and learning online, as well as through the electronic media.
Recognizing that not all children had access to the tools and resources for e-learning, the President assured Nigerians that the priority of the Federal Government was to ensure that things got 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.
The President encouraged all Nigerians to take a moment this day to celebrate the African child, who represents a better future for all of us.
‘’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.