By Gina Otokpa
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2019 International World Children’s Day, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called on the Federal Government, relevant stakeholders and individuals to give priority to the education of every child in Nigeria.
Addressing students of Government Day Secondary School Garki, at an event organised to mark the day which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) in Abuja yesterday, UNICEF Country Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, stressed that children were the most important thing in anyone’s life.
Quoting words from a special song for the day featuring Cobhams Asuquo, 2face Idibia and other known artistes titled ‘For Every Child’, he said “When a child is born they have a right. You are the light, you are the dream and you are the hope for tomorrow and for Nigeria
“Every child especially a Nigerian child is born with a talent, is born with a future and its for us to create a platform so that they can perform, can inspire and be a part of the future of this country.
“Priority should be given to the education of the child as it forms the basis of defense for them in knowing and standing for their rights in the society. When a child is educated they will be given the ability to contribute their quota to the community, when a child is educated they can avoid situations that can engender them as regards their heath and their future as a whole.
Hawkins who commended the efforts and hard work of teachers worldwide, pledged his organisation’s support in promoting the rights of children in Nigeria communities, as re affirmed the need to value and recognise the rights of children.
The United Nations Secretary General, Anthonio Gutteres who urged every government in the world to build, advance and recommit to putting children first, noted that all governments must ensure every child has a right and it was up to the present generation to demand commitments and actions were fulfilled by governments and communities.
Commenting on the CRC, he said “It has become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has hoped transform children’s lives around the world but still, not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood, too many childhoods are cut short. Around the world, children are showing us their strength and leadership, advocating for a more sustainable world for all.
On his part, Cobhams Asuquo who called for equal and better treatment of the Nigerian child, maintained that Nigerian children were all that was right with the country. He however added that that every Nigerian child has the chance and opportunity to re-write all that was wrong with the country.
“You are all that is right with Nigeria because you all have the chance to rewrite all the wrongs the previous generations have committed. I envy you all because you have the chance. Greatness is achievable for all Nigerian child; you have a chance to make it better.”