Minister decries COVID-19 effects on children

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Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, FCT Minister of State.

Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, FCT Minister of State.

The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, said on Friday in Abuja, that COVID-19 had negatively affected lives, homes and children in many ways.

Aliyu made the remarks at the Grand Finale of the 2021 FCT Children’s Day Celebration held at the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture.

She expressed sadness that some children lost their parents to the pandemic while the nation’s economy had been drastically impacted.

The minister warned that if the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children is not immediately addressed, it could last a lifetime.

Aliyu, who described children as the torchbearers of the future, called on the government, civil society activists, religious and community leaders, corporate bodies and media professionals to play an important part in making life relevant for children.

Aliyu remarked that the Children’s Day celebration offers an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights translating into dialogues and actions that would build a better world for the children.

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She, however, regretted that the COVID-19 crisis had resulted in a child rights crisis.

She described the theme of the 2021 Children’s Day Celebration, “Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the total well-being of Nigerian Child: The way forward,” as very topical.

Earlier, Dr Kelvin Ike, the Acting Secretary, FCT Social Development Secretariat, commended the minister for reviving the FCT Children’s Day celebration despite challenges.

As part of activities to celebrate the Day, Ike said that the secretariat had a day-out with orphans and vulnerable children where some of them were selected from registered Children’s Homes in FCT to gather for the fun-fare.

According to him, special prayers were also offered for children in churches and mosques.

He listed other activities to includes FCT Children’s parliament election, inauguration and summit, essay writing and poem recitation competitions among selected primary, junior and senior secondary school students as well as a cultural dance competition.

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