Abuja – The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has urged stakeholders to make concerted effort towards protecting the right of the African child.
In the old traditional African societies, it was the norm for children to help their parents on the farms/markets, and so on. In a fast moving cosmopolitan city such as Lagos, can the same rules really apply?
Mrs Buhari made the call on Friday in an event to mark the 2017 day for the African child in Abuja.
The event was organised by the African First Ladies Mission Secretariat to commemorate the children, who died in Soweto during a protest for quality education in South Africa.
The theme of the event was: ”Accelerating Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunities for children in Africa 2030.”
Mrs Buhari, who was represented by the former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said that the theme of the event was apt considering the rate of child abuse in the continent.
The wife of the President also stressed the need for parents to protect their children from all forms of violence and abuse.
According to her, that forms part of the 17 goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mrs Buhari, who quoted a UNICEF 2016 comprehensive report, said that children in sub-saharan Africa may be more likely to die before their fifth birthdays than their counterpart in high-income countries.
She that more than 60 million primary school age children will be out of school and more than half will be from Sub-saharan Africa.
“Despite huge challenges ahead of us, realizing these goals have deadline; we should accelerate our progress to achieve the goals by 2030.
Mrs Buhari, therefore, called on stakeholders to invest heavily in expanding the opportunities of the African child.
“We need peace to improve the quality of our children’s lives, accelerate protection, empowerment and give them equal opportunities by the year 2030 and beyond” she said.
The wife of the president, however, prayed that she would witness a situation where poverty and hunger would not be the problems facing the African child.
She prayed to witness situation where quality education, gender equality, good health, clean water and sanitation will be given to the African child.
In his remark, the South African Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria Mr Lulu Liuos, commended the Nigeria’s effort towards ending the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Lious also called on African leaders to rally support to end the spread of violence against children in the continent.
“Let us come together to safe the African child because any nation that does not look after its children, that nation will be a nation without a future” he said.
He also commended the effort of Mrs Buhari for providing succour to women and children in the IDPs camps.
In her address of welcome at the event, the coordinator of the African first ladies peace mission, Mrs Beatrice Bassey, said that the event seek to draw attention of stakeholders toward improving condition of African child.
Bassey stressed the need for synergy among actors in the continent to combat the ills being perpetuated against the African child.
“When we provide education, shelter and protection for children caught in conflict, we help them mend their hearts.
“Someday, they will have the ability and desire to help rebuild their countries,” she said.