By Salisu Sani-Idris
President Muhammadu Buhari says several interventions have been put in place to ensure that children are protected from incessant attacks, kidnappings, violence, abuse and exploitation.
Buhari made the disclosure at the 2021 National Children’s Day celebrations, organised by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, on Thursday in Abuja.
Represented by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, Buhari said his administration was concerned about the incidences of kidnappings and other forms of violence against children.
He also said that the Federal Government would continue to ensure a holistic and protective environment for a guaranteed and prosperous future for the children.
“One of such interventions is my commitment to the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD), which I ratified in 2019 to ensure the Government of Nigeria puts in place a national policy that would guide its implementation nationwide.
“However, endorsement of the Safe School Declaration is not sufficient as implementation of the project is very critical to the prevention and response to attacks on education, including those targeting women and girls.
“I call on state governments and security agencies to rededicate themselves to this project to protect children from incessant attacks and ensure that their education suffers no setback,” Buhari said.
He revealed that his administration was also expanding the Home-Grown-School Feeding Programme by targeting an additional three million children who would receive one free nutritious meal a day.
Similarly, Buhari said that the issue of street children, or children in non-conventional educational system were also being given the requisite attention through the Alternative School Programme.
“Furthermore, I have directed that a full range of Social Intervention Programmes be deployed across all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to achieve the vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
“The goal is that in the next 10 years, there will be less out-of-school children, less indices of malnutrition and less child mortality rate,” he said.
The President also reiterated the importance of children, stating that there was no future without children.
He, therefore, urged all ministries, departments, agencies, Civil Society Organisations, international partners, religious leaders, traditional rulers, teachers and parents to ensure the total protection and development of children.
“The Nigerian child remains our most treasured hope for a peaceful and productive nation.
“I hereby reiterate my commitment to ensuring that the well-being and prosperity of every Nigerian child remains the driving force for all government policies and programmes,” Buhari said.(NAN)