The honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen has called on all relevant stakeholders to contribute immensely in help curb the effect of COVID-19 on Children in Nigeria, noting that the challenges be falling the children is much.
Dame Pauline Tallen stated this while delivering a keynote address on the occasion of the 2021 National Children’s Day which was celebrated jointly with the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Thursday, 27th May, 2021, a statement by Director, Press & Public Relations, Olujimi Oyetomi disclosed.
The Minister further noted that the 2021 theme for the celebration which is “Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on the total wellbeing of the Nigerian Child: The way Forward”, finds its impotance in the COVID-19 challenges which has resulted in a child rights crisis.
In the words of the Minister, “The effects and impact of the pandemic for children are immediate and, if left unattended, may remain with us for long. It is a time for stock taking and assessment of the current challenges that affect our planning and implementation strategies in view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all facets of our national life.
”Identifying the challenges faced by the Nigerian children during pandemic’s lockdown, Dame Tallen said it includes many children who were locked out of their physical schools and also could not afford to buy personal laptops, or afford data to participate in online schools; children whose parents lost jobs as a result of reduction in workforce/retrenchment following business losses in their parents’ places of work; some children who were sexually molested and many others.
The Women Affairs Minister disclosed that “In a Survey conducted by Save the Children on the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Children in West and Central Africa in 2020 indicate that, 92% of surveyed households struggle to pay for food, health care, rent, fuel, nutrition and other essential needs. UNICEF also projected that about 950 Nigerian Children could die every day from preventable causes over the next six month as the COVID-19 Pandemic disrupted routine services and threatened to weaken the health services.” Such were the plights of the child facing survival struggle in Nigeria.
For these reasons, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Minister disclosed, “is deliberately engaging a participatory approach that aggregates the concerns and priorities of Nigerian children, while ensuring that their human rights concerns are systematically protected.
Children at the event
”The Minister again analysed the grim reality of these identified challenges and concluded that “This means that we need to take into cognizance the poorest of the poor children who do not have access to basic facilities in the rural areas, nor have ever been exposed to any ICT facility. Imagine how truncated their lives were with the lockdown measures put in place to curb the rise of the pandemic.”
At the tale end of the event, children received gifts of branded exercise books from the Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari who was represented, and as well listened to the inspiring address of President, Muhammadu Buhari, who was also represented by Mallam Muhammed Musa Bello, the Minister of FCT.