The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has charged the Federal Government to make education a top priority.
UNICEF country representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, while addressing students of Government Day Secondary School Garki, Abuja, to commemorate the 2019 International World Children’s Day in the FCT, with theme ‘Every Child, Every Right’, said education must be a top priority in our political and development agenda.
“Indeed, the Nigerian government must see education as a priority for every child. In doing so, it must invest in it and increase funding that will ensure that the poorest families are not forced to pay for their children’s schooling; ensure better equipped schools and adequately trained teachers with sufficient support.”
Hawkins also said, the Nigerian child is the light, dream and the hope of tomorrow, adding that education is the only foundation that will give them the desired peaceful and sustainable future.
The country representative, who urged the students to take their studies seriously and to the highest level to enable them find their voice and use it for the good of the society, maintained that when children are educated, they are given the ability to contribute their quota to the community.
“When a child is educated he can avoid situations that can endanger him as regards his health and future as a whole,” he stated.
He also said the 2019 International World Children’s Day edition was unique as it marked 30 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adding that every Nigerian child is born with a talent and a future.
In celebration of the CRC 30th anniversary, which is a global event, a song produced by Nigerian artist, Cobhams Asuquo, titled ‘For Ever Child’ was launched.
The artist lighted up the atmosphere, calling for every Nigerian child’s rights to be respected and protected. He urged government to create a platform for every child to express his or her talent and to ensure that the rights of every child are enshrined in the Rights of the CRC.
He said every Nigerian child has the chance and opportunity to re-write all that is wrong with Nigeria.
Hawkins said, “with this song, we are urging all people to call for every right for every child because every Nigerian child deserves a fair chance to a safe and healthy future and to fulfil his dreams.
A senior secondary school student of Government Day Secondary School Garki, Alfred Jason, said the event has further empowered him to know more about his rights as a child.
“I do know that I have some rights as a child, but I am better informed with what I learnt from the programme today,” he said.
Another student, Apere Maltina, said that was the first time she was hearing about CRC, but that with the information she garnered, she was calling on government to support every Nigerian child to get education by providing scholarship and free education for all.
“I see children like me hawking on the streets instead of going to school and I always wish our government will do something about it,” she said.
She added that children have rights which should be respected and given.
The musical entertainment featured Cobhams Asuquo, the youth loving Innocent Idibia (2Baba), and other artistes; Niniola, Chidinma, Umar Sheriff and Timi Dakolo, singing with selected Nigerian children.