Children’s Day: UNICEF celebrates Nigerian Children, makes case for protection of child rights

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The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF has joined in the commemoration of Nigerian Children’s Day noting that the COVID-19 crisis has been a child rights crisis in Nigeria and around the world.

In a statement issued by the UNICEF’s Country Director, Peter Hawkins, says “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. ‘The longer the pandemic goes on, the more intense the impact on women and children.

UNICEF also noted that the commemoration is coming at a challenging moment for child rights in the Nigeria and the world, 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.

‘On this Nigerian Children’s Day, let us all agree that we cannot let one crisis compound another”. The United Nations agency equally observed that the pandemic is threatening decades of progress 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.

‘But we have learned from this pandemic too. One thing we have learned is that education takes place not only in schools – children can and should learn both in and out of school. ‘A learning continuum is critical, so that all children continue to get an education irrespective of their situation, location, or the pandemic. ‘Nigerian children are resilient, talented and aspire to do great things.  And it is our responsibility to give them the platform and encouragement to do just that.

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