By Stanley Onyekwere
Mothers and fathers, as well as care givers have been enjoined to rise up to the challenges of proper nurturing and upbringing of their children and wards.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, gave this charge yesterday, in her address at the 2021 National Children’s Day celebration organised in partnership with the FCT Administration, in Abuja.
Tallen said they have to move along with the tides, as the government works towards addressing the plight of different categories of children in Nigeria, especially Orphans and Vulnerable, street, Almajiri children, etc.
She said: “We must rise to the challenges of the times to ensure that we reassess our commitments to the promotion of the rights of the child in line with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution and other regional and Sub-Regional declarations on the Rights of the child to which Nigeria is a signatory to.
“We have therefore resolved to continually appreciate the potential of the Nigerian child and to constantly upscale and renew our commitment to ensure that the Nigerian Child lives a more dignified life.
“We cannot allow evil minded persons continue to inflict and pose grave dangers to our children. If we do not provide an enabling environment for children to grow as responsible adults, they will surely come back to haunt us as miscreants.
“The Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015 is a great tool in our advocacy for a just and egalitarian society where the Nigerian Child will reach his/her full potential.
“As we speak only 18 States have domesticated the VAPP Act, while some who have domesticated it are yet to gazette it to make it Law. I therefore appeal to the State Governors to fast track the process to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“I wish to call on all stakeholders that this year’s celebration is not just a tradition, but a concrete step that must be taken to promote the survival, protection, development and participation of the Nigerian Child, the future of this nation.”
Commenting on the 2021 theme for the celebration is “Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on the total wellbeing of the Nigerian Child: The way Forward”, the Minister said theme finds its relevance in the COVID-19 crisis which has resulted in a child rights crisis, adding that the effects and impact of the pandemic for children are immediate and, if left unattended, may remain with us for long.
According to her: “It’s a time for stock taking and assessment of the current challenges that affect our planning and implementation strategies in view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all facets of our national life.
“ I also wish to emphasize that COVID -19 is not over yet and we should continue to observe the government approved protocols for our safety and the safety of our children”.