BusinessDay

Osinbajo urges greater support for children

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has emphasised the need for the government to increase children-focused interventions, especially where challenges of insecurity persist.

Osinbajo stated this at the presentation of the Situation Analysis of Children in Nigeria (SITAn) Document at Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, on Friday.

He, however, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari administration has made significant strides in improving child welfare across the country, adding that “more can still be done to safeguard the future of every Nigerian child, with the convergence of political, religious and cultural resources.”

“I believe that we can in this decade permanently end child poverty in Nigeria. The key task is to muster the political, religious, and cultural will to the resolution of this existential challenge. We must not rest until the future of every child in Nigeria is guaranteed,” he said.

The event was jointly organised by the federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning, UNICEF, other collaborating civil society organisations (CSOs) and development partners.

Proffering further measures to improve child welfare nationwide, the vice-president emphasised access to education, especially for the girl child, quality healthcare, and improving nutrition, among others.

Highlighting the significant steps taken by the administration in this regard, Osinbajo noted that “every child that fails to live up to their potential because they did not have access to basic education and the tools needed to rise to the stature of their dreams, indicts every one of us and takes away from the sum of who we are as a people.

Read also: 17 million Nigerian children are malnourished – UNICEF

“And this is what has driven our commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the decade and to safeguard the future of every Nigerian child,” he stated.

He added that “sustainable solutions to these challenges require an interplay between poverty reduction, the digital economy, health and employment, and a multi-stakeholder approach to tackling them.”

Some of the FG’s intervention programmes include the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy aimed at creating decent livelihoods for millions; the At-Risk Children’s Program, ARC-P, which combines formal education, skills and health as a multi-faceted community intervention led by the States and coordinated by the Federal Government, among others.

He noted that the ongoing execution of the country’s SDG Implementation Plan (2020-2030) and the improvements made.

“Despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SDG plan is creating social safeguards for the family through the delivery of basic services, especially in water and sanitation, and the positive improvements we have witnessed in the provision of Universal Health Coverage and increase of the attendance of women at birth,” he said.

“We can also speak with some pride about this administration’s substantial progress in raising the number of states that have now enacted the Child’s Right Law from 23 to 30 in just two years,” the VP observed.

Other policies he listed include the North-East Nigeria Maternal Nutrition, Infant and Young Child Nutrition Guidelines as among key efforts of the government for improving child welfare.

However, Osinbajo submitted that “as long as we still have an estimated large number of out-of-school children, many more with severe and acute malnutrition, forced into early marriages, recruited into armed conflict, denied access to safe drinking water and hygiene, subjected to sexual and gender-based violence, exploited, deprived of access to health and other rights, as long as we still have even just one child in deprivation and at risk, our work is certainly not done yet.”

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