The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, on Thursday called on stakeholders to make quality invest in children to attain Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) in the country.
Hajiya Aisha made the appeal during the ministerial briefing to mark the 2017 National Children’s Day celebration with the theme “Child Protection and SDGs issues and Opportunities.”
“Children’s rights and SDGs are interlinked; therefore the failure of stakeholders to come up with strategic plans to guarantee the right of children will slow down the desired progress in achieving the SDGs targets by 2030.
“Children as we all know are the leaders of tomorrow and pillars on which the nation’s sustainable development is built. More than 17 SDGs targets are on children, therefore, we cannot achieve the goals without addressing the issues and concerns on welfare and well-being of our children,” she said.
The minister listed the issues to be addressed to include eradication of poverty, hunger, provision of quality education and healthcare services.
She said the challenge of children in the society would be measured by how much the country protects and care for children in a more secured and violent free environment.
“The rate of child vulnerability has increased in the country and they include child trafficking, battering, rape, abandonment, child marriage, child labour, rituals, abuse, neglect and baby factories.
“All these are evil acts of violence against children cut across boundaries of tribe, age, race, culture and wealth. These evil acts occur in streets, homes, schools, work places and child care institutions.
“The more worrisome of child protection are issues of children with disabilities, who face a lot of social, emotional, psychological exclusion, lack of mobility and non-accessibility to quality education among others,” she said.
Aisha Alhassan assured that plans are ongoing to ensure that all children of school age go back to school by September.
“We cannot discuss issues of children’s protection in the country without mentioning the case of abducted released Chibok school girls.
“A total of 106 have been released and we called on security agencies to do all that is possible to bring back the remaining girls to their families,” Alhassan said.
She also urged Ministries, Departments and Agencies, donor agencies, development and implementing partners that handle issues of children to join in addressing all the challenges confronting the Nigerian child.
“This is the right time to network, collaborate and partner by pulling all resources together, with more concrete actions to protect our children.
“Unless and until we come together to prioritise the issues of children, Nigeria will be far from achieving the SDGs by 2030,” she reiterated.