27th May, 2011
After two days of deliberations in Abuja, the countryâ€™s capital, Nigerian children, yesterday, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to stop the Boko Haram killings in northern Nigeria, saying that the psychological trauma on them is horrendous.
At a special session of the National Childrenâ€™s Parliament at the National Assembly, the children also noted that the Universal Basic Education, UBE, which aims at educating all children and preparing them for a brighter future has been neglected by state governors.
The Deputy Senate leader from Adamawa State disclosed that when the governorship Candidate of the All Nigeria Peopleâ€™s Party was assassinated before the just concluded elections, a child standing by him was also murdered.
He said many children in northern Nigeria now live in fear of either being killed or witnessing scene of killings and bomb explosions that will linger in their memories for years.
He further disclosed that many children who have witnessed such horrendous scenes have withdrawn from school for fear of being attacked.
â€œI implore the government to take steps by going into negotiation with the Boko Haram bandits to save the situation,â€ he said, adding he is a student in Maiduguri, Borno State, where Boko Haram attacks are rife.
Senator Jane Ototo, who represented Bayelsa State, Jonathanâ€™s home state, said that the UBE is not taken as a priority by governors and as a result there is lack of qualified teachers and general manpower in most schools in Nigeria.
She however commended the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, for setting up the Women For Change Initiative, which she said, is transforming the lives of many women across the country.
Senator Emmanuel Anderson called on the incoming administration to focus on healthcare delivery and ensure that at least 15 percent of the total budget is allocated to healthcare in the country, while Senator Adeniyi Lawal of Lagos State, South West Nigeria called on the president to strengthen agencies that deal with good governance.
The children, as final recommendations, called on Jonathanâ€™s administration to take needy children off the streets, rehabilitate and reintegrate them into the society.
They also urged the government to allocate at least 15 percent of the budget to education and strengthen agencies involved in children issues.
President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented by Mrs. Josephine Anenih, Minister of Women Affairs, pledged that the childrenâ€™s concerns and recommendations will be addressed.