By Tobias Lengnan Dapamh
Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and leaders from Nigeria’s private sector and entertainment industry yesterday joined a rally to promote children’s rights.
Also joining the rally are; BankyW, Niniola and Cobhams.
This development was made known in a statement issued yesterday by Oluwatosin Akingbulu, Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The statement said the business leaders and the artists will join the Nobel Laureate for a reading of his poem A Child Before a Mirror of Strangers, dedicated to children around the world in commemoration of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which celebrates a milestone 30th anniversary this year.
“There is one common bond among all of us — and that bond is childhood,” said Prof. Soyinka. “We have the responsibility to protect and preserve the integrity of that sole common bond, which is pertinent to all humanity.”
The event, a collaboration between UNICEF and the British Deputy High Commission, brought key leaders and influencers from Nigeria’s private sector and entertainment industry together to discuss how these sectors can help advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the realization of children’s rights.
“Achieving the SDGs and achieving child rights go hand-in-hand,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.
“Both will only be achieved if all sectors of business are fully engaged. Child rights and the SDGs need to be integrated into business principles, strategies and plans, which, in turn, can contribute to more robust and inclusive economic growth and improved employment of young people. That is good for children, good for business and good for Nigeria.”
With a population close to 200 million people and an ever-increasing youth bulge, Nigeria is experiencing increasing demands on schools and health facilities, and growing challenges for young people to find work, amongst other challenges.
In an appeal directly to children, musician, producer and songwriter Cobhams Asuquo said, “You are all that is right in Nigeria because you are the chance to rewrite all of wrongs that generations before you have done. You have a chance and a clean state to make this country the place we all dream of.”