In celebration of the World Children’s Day, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has highlighted the importance of investing in every child in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event to mark the day in Abuja on Monday, the Chief of Communications, UNICEF, Doune Porter, said that there is an urgent need for Nigeria to invest more in children as that is the only way to invest in the future of the country.
Ms. Porter said, “Today, November 20th is world children’s day. It is the anniversary of the establishment of the conventional right of a child. Today is all about raising awareness on the issues that are facing children around the world and in Nigeria.
“We need to invest in children all over the world and especially in Nigeria with a huge population. We need to invest in the future of Nigeria and by doing that, we need to invest in the lives of children.”
She noted that “UNICEF is marking this day in a very special way and we hope that from now on, the world children’s day will be recognised.”
She added that to mark the day, some children have been placed in different agencies to play significant administrative roles, ”like that of a general manager, a front desk officer amongst others.”
The point of this, she said, is to raise children’s voices and to stand in solidarity with them.
She said the world children’s day is set aside to encourage young people across the world to ”step into their parents shoes and address the plight of those less fortunate from platforms they would ordinarily be too short to reach.”
The theme of this year’s World Children’s Day is ”KidsTakeOver.”
Eight-year-old Emmanuel Ikechukwu who was present at the event said that he is excited about the day and it’s significance.
Acting as a front desk officer, he said that the day ”gives children the opportunity to raise their voices as one.”
Meanwhile, a new survey released by UNICEF on Monday cited poor education, violence against children, and terrorism as some of the biggest concerns for children in Nigeria.
The survey was carried out in 14 countries across the world and analyses data of more than 11,000 nine-18-year-old children.
In Nigeria alone, the survey, which centred on 500 children revealed that eight in 10 children admitted ”worrying a lot about poor education affecting them and seven in 10 children worried a lot about being personally affected by poverty.”
The results also indicates that 59 per cent of children do not trust their country’s leaders.
In a press statement, the representative of UNICEF, Mohammed Fall, said: “It is clear that children are acutely aware of the challenges their peers face across the world and they are afraid of being affected by these issues themselves.
“The fact that our young people are telling us they do not think their opinion is heard or it does not have any impact, reflects that they feel powerless and disenfranchised,” he said.