The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen on Friday in Abuja advocated for more budgetary allocation for children in all sectors, to protect their rights and secure their future.
Tallen, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Ifeoma Anyakwutaku said this during the commemoration of the 2020 “Universal Children’s Day celebration” held at the Government Science Technical College, Garki.
The day, which is set to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and to initiate actions that would benefit and promote their welfare globally, has as its 2020 theme: “Investing in our future means investing in our children”.
The minister recalled that the 2018 UNICEF report showed a 13.5 per cent increase of out of school children, out of which 65 per cent were girls.
She attributed the increase to out of school children to poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, banditry, communal clashes, Boko haram insurgency, among others, saying that there was the need to invest more on children’s education, health, care, as well as protecting them from violence, to enable them succeed in life and for the benefit of our nation.
”The Federal budget dedicated to children in all sectors is very negligible, but we are doing all we can to reverse this trend. The targeted investment and interventions we make today, will create a lifetime opportunity for them in the future”.
She urged other stakeholders to invest in children to enable the nation to secure a solid foundation for the future.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Ifeoma Anyakwutaku, observed that the day was also a clarion call to demand for actions for the rights of the child.
Represented by the Director, Child Development, Mrs Jummai Mohammed, the permanent secretary stressed the need to ensure implementation of relevant policies and programs that would enhance the educational and sustainable development of the children.
“We should use this occasion to review the status of implementation of past and present actions so that we can improve on our interventions for a holistic development of our children”.
She commended the efforts of relevant stakeholders, particularly the Rule of Law and Anti Corruption (RoLAC) Programme, for their support to the government.
The Program Manager, RoLAC, Ms Priscilla Ankut, said the simplified version of the Child Rights Act would enable the students become familiar with their rights and the appropriate channels to seek redress when their rights were infringed upon.
Also speaking, Ms Julie Okah -Donli, Director General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said that there was a need to secure the future of the children through the implementation of policies that would protect them.
Okah -Donli, represented by Mrs Ebere Unasi, Director of Child Rights, reiterated the commitment of the agency to promote and create awareness on issues affecting children, particularly child labour, child abuse, and trafficking.
Some educational support materials and menstrual hygiene kits were distributed to the students.
The students performed drama and different cultural presentations on the effects of physical, psychological, social and sexual abuse on minors.