COINDESK.COM

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says over 10 million children in Nigeria are out of school.

The fund also said about 60 million children are globally out of the school burden.

Mr Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday in commemoration of the International Children’s Day scheduled for November 20 annually.

Fall noted that the day was set aside increase the welfare of children globally and above all the realisation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

The country representative emphasised that though Nigeria has made significant progress in fulfilment of the child rights with regard to access to health, reducing infants and under-five mortality through the rollback Malaria.

He further noted that through the improvement in sanitation and hygiene there was reduction in under five mortality and as well getting more children to school and ensuring their protection.

He, however, noted that there are still tremendous challenges with regard to practical implementation of the ratified Convention of the Rights of the Child by the Nigerian government and partners through resources allocation and implementation on issues affecting the children.

According to him, our focus on the protocol of the right of the child is that every single child in Nigeria is given the possibility to survive, possibility to thrive and possibility to have optimum development and as well develop their full potentials.

“Nigeria today have over 10 million children that are out of school and that account for large proportion of the burden the world is carrying in terms of number of children that are out of school.

“Nigeria is having under five mortality of one million, which is one of the third highest in the world, the country also have 11 million children stunted, a form of malnutrition that affect their growth and development.

“Stunting also affects their development to fulfil their potential and as well affect their ability to learn at learning age which affects good labour force when they grow up.

“Today the country is also experiencing many forms of violence affecting children as well as all sorts of abuses beside conflict in different context, early marriage and Mother-To-Child HIV transmission.’’

He, however, noted that there was need for government at all levels, private sector, civil society, communities, traditional and religious leaders to mobilise in order to reduce these negative indices.

Fall specifically called for private sector involvement in terms of utilising its leveraging power, influence and innovations, among others.

He further described the media as key in terms of raising awareness, in terms of mobilising the society to move forward the agenda of children.

“The government has to do more in terms of resources allocation, legislation, in terms of implementing programmes that was agreed upon.

“The efforts of the government need to be complemented by the efforts of other segments of the society. The media has to contribute a lot in terms of awareness, making people know what the situations are,” Fall said.

The country representative noted that the International Children’s Day was set aside in 1989 on the resolution of the UN Assembly by the international community where they adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

He emphasised that the day was set aside to celebrate the progress, achievement and as well celebrate where each countries are today.

“It help us to see the way we still have to go because despite the progress challenges are still there, issues are still affecting the possibility for children to survive, thrive and to live their lives and achieve their full potentials,” he said.

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