UNICEF Lauds FG’s Commitment To Protect Children

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended the Federal Government’s effort to protect children in the country.

According to a statement issued by the children’s agency on Thursday, October 25, 2023, the Country Representative of UNICEF Nigeria, Cristian Munduate said, “it is heartening to see this Government’s commitment to protect children.

“Results can be rapidly achieved for children and the nation, if the decision is made today, then 2024, 2025, and 2026 can be 3 years where Nigeria will succeed by achieving gigantic steps for the realization of child rights. The Government has established a Coordinating mechanism for social welfare, and it is a unique opportunity for having a reference group at the highest level, that can bring different strategic stakeholders around one leading path for children to survive, thrive, and develop. These concrete results can be measured by a robust Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism, paired with an unwavering accountability framework”.

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu flagged off the 29th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES 29) with a strong indication to transform Nigeria with accelerated reforms, ensuring increased prosperity including the well-being of Nigerian children as provided by the renewed hope agenda which will build a 1 $trillion Economy by 2026.

This signifies a resolute dedication to advancing child rights and their access to essential social services, including education, healthcare, and nutrition, as integral components of Nigeria’s overarching development strategies.

Chairman of NESG, Niyi Yusuf underscored the profound impact of child rights violations on the nation’s development and called for vigorous action to improve the lives of children who are the future of the country:

“Multidimensional poverty in Nigeria is intrinsically linked to child rights violations, with grave economic repercussions. In 2021, Nigeria suffered an astonishing $40 billion loss due to unequal access to education. Furthermore, annual per capita growth faces a 0.55% setback stemming from declining school enrolments, while the economic toll of violence against Nigerian children is estimated at approximately USD $6.1 billion,” he said.

As part of the NES 29 agenda, a policy debate and ministerial roundtable on national child well-being took place on day 2 of the summit. During this session, ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made a commitment to translate into action the recommendations from the summit with the principle of a paradigm shift where children are no longer an afterthought but at the forefront of governance, business policies, and interventions.

This collaboration between NESG and UNICEF, initiated earlier this year, represents a significant step towards reinforcing child rights realization in Nigeria. It contributes to the efforts of the Federal and State Governments to design the nation’s development strategy integrating child poverty reduction, social sector reforms, and implementing presidential-level accountability measures for reporting and feedback on child rights in Nigeria.

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