By Henry Umoru, Samuel Oyadongha, Ebele Orakpo, Demola Akinyemi & Chioma Onuegbu

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, called on parents to monitor the activities of their children by spending more time with them, noting that Parents should ensure that the children keep good company to avoid negative peer pressure.

Buhari
Buhari

He also said the Federal Government had concluded arrangements to review the National Drug Control Master Plan of 2015 – 2019 as part of moves to focus on drug control and consumption.

Speaking in Abuja at the event to mark the 2019 Children’s Day Celebration, President Buhari appealed to all ministries, departments, agencies (MDAs), civil society organisations, international partners, religious leaders, traditional rulers,  teachers and most importantly, parents and adolescents themselves to work together to addressing the challenges of drug abuse.

The President, represented by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Mallam Muhammad Bello, said the collective efforts, would among others, avert the consequences of drug abuse, which have become a social menace and a threat to a better future for Nigerian children and the nation.

On his part, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, yesterday described Children as Nigeria’s most important treasure as a nation, just as he urged leaders at all levels to recommit to the continuous empowerment of the Nigerian child.

In a message to mark the 2019 Children’s Day, by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said, “ Today, our nation celebrates its future, our children; our most important national treasure.

“As we do so, we recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Nigerian children are empowered to aspire to achieve greatness.

Girls who are mothers at ages they should be in school

“On this Children’s Day 2019, we remember Leah Sharibu and all other young Nigerian children who will be commemorating this symbolic day without their loved ones. We commit them into our prayers, and continue to call for their unequivocal release.”

In Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the state government, said its free education policy had helped to reduce the number of out of school children in the state by over 90 per cent.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson disclosed this in a statement to convey the good wishes of the government to all the children in the state on the occasion of the 2019 children’s day celebration.

Iworiso-Markson noted that as a top priority, the Restoration Government of the state would continue to invest in education which is the only way to guarantee their future.

He urged children in the state to take their education seriously, stressing that with the robust education programmes put in place by the government, there was no excuse for any Bayelsa child not to go to school.

Meanwhile, a  non-governmental organisation, Human Development Initiatives, HDI, in partnership with ActionAid, has called on government at all levels to increase the share of funds allocated to and spent on free, quality, equitable and inclusive public education, training and retraining of teachers to meet the reality of today’s education and provision of necessary infrastructure bearing in mind that every child has a right to education.

In a statement by its media officer, Mr. Tosin Adesile, to mark this year’s Children’s Day, the group called on government to be more proactive in the provision of basic needs for children, which is non-negotiable according to United Children’s Fund, UNICEF; stating that children do not have to suffer for situations that are no fault of theirs.”

He said the group had, in the last few months, embarked on series of activities on inclusive education and called on government, particularly, Lagos State, to break all barriers to free, quality, equitable and public inclusive education, saying ”this is the way to go.”

Adesile said, “As we celebrate 2019 Children’s Day, the only smile government can put on the faces of children is to increase education budget by raising the fair tax as well as making public education more sensitive to the rights of girls and marginalised children.”

Calling for increment in the funding for the education of children with special needs from two per cent to three per cent, Adesile explained that HDI had partnered many NGOs and major educational boards including SUBEB and had come to the realisation that ‘what we have is small compared to what we intend to achieve.”

Similarly, Chairman of Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State,  Mr  Michael Tidi, urged parents and guardians to build solid family units and inculcate sound moral values in their children and wards.

Tidi, who gave the charge in a message to mark this year’s children’s day, said since children were the future generation, it was necessary for parents in the society to change the narrative of desperation for materialism to respect for merit, credibility and hard work.

He said: “Individuals and institutions should also create avenues for celebrating children with moral uprightness, a penchant for academic excellence and apparent inventive instincts. It would go a long way in laying the foundation for Nigeria to attain industrial growth and infrastructural development. Children should put God first in everything they do because the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and wisdom is the principal thing as attested to by the scriptures.”

In Ilorin, Kwara State Governor-elect Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq, congratulated Nigerian children on the occasion, saying: “The greatness of any society will be determined by how much premium it places on the welfare of its children.

“This is why we will pay better attention to the rights of our children to basic education and conducive environment to succeed in life,” AbdulRazaq said in a statement by his media aide Rafiu Ajakaye. ”From the provision of quality maternal health services, basic education  and encouragement of exclusive breastfeeding, we are determined to help the Kwara children attain their full potentials.”

Also, in Uyo, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State warned children and youths not to engage in crime and anti-social behaviours that could hamper the fulfilment of their purpose in life.

Emmanuel, who sounded the warning yesterday during the children’s day celebration at the Township Stadium Uyo, described the level of involvement of children in drug abuse and crimes such as cultism, kidnapping and rape as alarming.

 

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