By Emmanuel Edukugho & Gabriel Olawale
FIRST Lady of Bauchi State, Hajiya Abiodun Isa Yuguda and Founder, Challenge Your Disability Initiative, CYDI, yesterday at 2nd Vanguard Childrenâ€™s Conference, called on corporate organisations across the country to learn to include children with disabilities in their programmes as part of efforts to show love and care to such group in the society.
At the conference held at the Corporate Head office, of Vanguard Newspapers, Apapa, Lagos,Â with the theme: â€œThe Nigerian Child, Africaâ€™s Pride,â€ where experts made presentations, Hajiya Yuguda expressed delight at the presence of over 500 children drawn from various schools in Lagos State.
Addressing the children at summit held as part of exercise to mark this yearâ€™s Childrenâ€™s Day celebration, Mrs Yuguda said children with disabilities should not be left out in programmes, particularly, programmes that would help shape their lives as future leaders.
Hajiya Yuguda lamented that Nigerian children with disabilities were often neglected and prevented from accessing educational services and where few were given the opportunities, they were restricted to special schools in very inhumane conditions.
Her words: â€œThis programme is going to assist our children as they grow up because they are the leaders ofÂ tomorrow. So when programme like this is being organised, the organisers should not forget children with disabilities.
â€œThrough this programme, the children will be enlightened on a lot of things and they will learn a lot of things. Some of the things they learn today will also guide them while they are growing up. Many of these things will remain in their minds.â€
The Bauchi State First Lady urged children to learn to touch lives as they grew up, saying: â€œYou are all beautiful because you are not on drugs. Say â€˜noâ€™ to drugs, say â€˜yesâ€™ to life. I want you, if you notice any of your friends, neighbours doing that, report to your teachers, parents. It is then you can touch lives. A lot of you can assist your parents. Touch lives as you grow up.â€
She stated that according to â€œUNESCO, at least every one child born with or acquires a serious impairment which, if no attention is given, could impede the development of the child. It is pertinent to note that 80 per cent of the estimated 200 million children in the world with disability are living in developing countries and very few receive good health care and education, and less than two per cent receive special services of any kind.â€
Children as future leaders â€”Mrs Fashola
On her part, the wife Lagos State Governor, Mrs Abimbola Fashola, said children should be seen as future leaders.
Represented by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mrs Ayo Shamo, the Lagos First Lady informed the children that Lagos State was the first state in the countryÂ in 2007 to pass the Child Rights Bill into law and that the state organised Childrenâ€™s Parliament periodically where children drawn from all the local government areas attend to deliberate on issues affecting children.
Vanguard cares for children â€”Editor
In his welcome address, Mr. Mideno Bayagbon, Editor of Vanguard, said he â€œis happy to have the children come together for the conference,â€ stressing: â€œVanguard cares for children by making sure that their interests are protected.â€
According to him, â€œa mong you, there will be president, vice president, governors, ministers. One day when you will be there, you will remember today. All of you are great people and God will lead you there.â€
Several experts presented papers on issues affecting children at the conference, among whom was representative of World Health Organisation, WHO Country Representative, Dr Ada Erinle, who presented a paper on â€œLiving Healthy As Children.â€
Mrs Shola Adeyi from Daily Needs, spoke on â€œDeveloping Good Oral Hygiene Habits,â€ and advised the children to keep their teeth healthy an avoiding mouth odor.
Speaking on â€œInculcating African Culture in Children, Mrs. Oladele from Centre for Black and African Art and Civilisation, said there was need to promote African culture on three main domains of dressing, language and morals and decried a situation in which â€œour people do not wear African dress, speak foreign language and children lacked proper, sound moral attributes.â€
Talking on â€œChild Abuseâ€, Dr. Olufemi Kayode described child abuse as â€œpsychological, emotional mistreatment of children.â€