Children's Day: UNICEF calls for unity, protection of Nigerian children

Children playing football on the street

Children playing football on the street

Children playing football on the street
Children playing football on the street

UNICEF has called for collective effort from stakeholders to protect the rights of children.

The call was contained in a statement signed by Geoffrey Njoku, the Head of Media and External Relations, UNICEF, made available to NAN in Abuja.

Ms Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, said there was need to create a protective environment for all children to ensure a bright future.

“As we celebrate another children’s day, one area where our collective responsibility is urgently required is the protection of our children, the collective includes the family, community, society and the state.

“Every day in the media, we hear of one form of abuse or the other against children, rape of underage children, child trafficking and so on.

“Let us all work together collectively to ensure that our children are protected against harm so they can grow into productive adults who will contribute to the development of Nigeria in future.”

The UNICEF official said the protective environment was based on the recognition that all children were entitled to protection, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 2003 Child Rights Act.

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He added that the recent abduction of more than 200 school girls in Chibok, Borno, underscored the need for all hands to be on deck to fight for the future of the Nigerian child.

He noted that UNICEF was working toward creating a protective environment for children and fortify them against abuse, as well as promote good nutrition and healthcare for them.

The UN agency was also collaborating with the Nigeria Police, immigration service, and other line Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to fight child trafficking and abductions.

“Our best efforts in survival and development will amount to nothing if children are abused, as it will later harm their lives.

“A young girl in school is likely to be not well educated if she is sexually abused by her teacher or abused in whatever way, so also is the boy child.”

The 2014 celebration has “Unite for Peace of Nigeria, Unite for Children” as its theme.