The Federal Government has called on all stakeholders to invest meaningfully in children noting that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted them negatively.
Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, called made at the weekend at an event to commemorate the 2021 Universal Day of the Child with the theme, “Unite to Reverse the Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Children”, stressing that investing in children will ensure a solid foundation for a better tomorrow is laid.
Represented by the Deputy Director Child Development Department in the ministry Andrew Madugu, Tallen noted at the event held at School for the Gifted, Gwagwalada, Abuja, added that orphans and the vulnerable especially as well as other categories of children experienced various forms of abuse, exploitation, diseases, hunger and discrimination.
Tallen assured that measures were in place to fully implement policies that will protect the rights of children, adding that perpetrators of any form of abuse will be brought to book according to the law.
According to her, “It is disturbing to note that some children were involved in child labour, some were living on the streets and some children dropped out of school, while some girls were married off due to the emergence of the scourge of COVID-19 Pandemic.
“As Government and stakeholders, we cannot allow this vices to continue. We are generating discourse around these issues at all levels on the way forward to ensure that our children anywhere are safe, protected and are enjoying their rights,” she said.
“We will also ensure that perpetrators of every form of the abusive act on our innocent children are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others,” she added.
The Minister, further revealed that the Federal budget dedicated to children targets investments and interventions that will make a lifetime of opportunity for the children in the future.
In her reaction, Deputy Director, Gender Affairs, FCT Education Secretariat, Hadiza Ingawa, while noting the scourge of violence and abuse against children, advised them to strive towards succeeding in their academic pursuits, inculcate good morals and hygiene in order to grow up responsible adults.
Similarly, a representative of the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA), Dr Sampson Ezikeanyi, expressed worry on the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on children, while reassuring commitments of the organisation towards improving access to health services in Nigeria.
Earlier, a Public Health Expert with Ace Charity Foundation, Hassana Shuiabu, encouraged the students to maintain personal basic hygiene and sanitation, and in the school environment.
Meanwhile, the Principal of the school for the Gifted, Mr Samuel Okpe, affirmed that there were numerous negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children especially students, assuring that the students and management will continue to maintain the COVID-19 protocol, which will aid in eliminating the pandemic in totality.