Children’s Day: UNICEF Tasks Government on Rights Protection in Face of Inequality, Poverty, Pandemic


United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called on Nigerian government at all levels to protect the rights of children to education and health in the face of growing poverty, inequality and pandemic.

UNICEF, in a statement to commemorate the 2021 children’s day, expressed concerns over the effects of Covid-19 on the children, describing it as a child rights crisis in Nigeria and the world at large.

UNICEF’s Country Director, Peter Hawkins, noted that poverty is rising, inequality is growing, and the pandemic has often disrupted the essential services that secure the health, education and protection of children and young people in the country.

He said the 2021 Children’s day comes at a challenging moment for child rights  with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening gains made for children’s development.

“It has been a challenging year for us all with the COVID-19 pandemic – not least of all, Nigeria’s children – and I want to commend efforts at all levels of Nigerian government and society to protect education, health, and protection services in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children.

“The longer the pandemic goes on, the more intense the impact on women and children. On this Nigerian Children’s Day, let us all agree that we cannot let one crisis compound another.

“The pandemic is threatening decades of progress we have made for children. Violence is perpetrated against one in four Nigerian children – and one in three Nigerian girls are sexually abused. This has only increased during the pandemic. Today of all days, we must commit to reinforce the protection mechanisms for all children”, Hawkins noted.

The UNICEF Director revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic has helped the people learned that education takes place not only in schools, noting that children can and should learn both in and out of school.

Mr Hawkins stated Nigerian children are resilient, talented and aspire to do great things, charging parents and government with the responsibility to give them the platform and encouragement to do that.

The statement reads; “We know that protecting children and investing in women and families is not only the right thing to do – it has proven to be a sound economic choice and a cost-effective tool for national development.

“As we celebrate our children today, we must act in their best interests and deploy innovative solutions to fast-track learning and health services to build back better, for every Nigerian child.”

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