Protect Child Rights, Tackle Growing Out-of-school Children Menace, NGO Charges Govt

A non-profit organisation, Milestone Agenda for Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (MAFYEDI), has called on the Nigerian government to do more to protect the fundamental rights of Nigerian children and create a safe and inclusive environment for them to thrive and achieve their full potential.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Dr. Zainab Yaqub made the call in a statement issued in Ilorin on Monday to mark 2024 Children’s Day with the theme For every child, every right’.

The statement reads in part: “We reaffirm our organisation’s commitment to advocacy for access to public education for all Nigerian children, irrespective of their social, religious and economic background. Today’s occasion of Children’s Day reminds us of our collective responsibility to ensure that every Nigerian child enjoys their fundamental rights, with the right to education being paramount.

“It is deeply troubling that Nigeria currently has an estimated 20.1 million out-of-school children, the second highest rate in the world after India. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for increased investment in the education sector.

“As an organisation, we believe that education is the bedrock of development and the key to unlocking the potential of every child. We, therefore, call on government at all levels to prioritize and significantly boost funding and resources dedicated to education.

“We also urge the government to ensure strict enforcement of the Child’s Rights Act, which mandates both the government and parents to ensure that every Nigerian child receives free and qualitative basic education.

“Additionally, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act requires that every parent ensures their child or ward completes primary and junior secondary school education. We believe that strict enforcement of these laws is crucial to reducing the growing number of out-of-school children in the country.

“Moreover, the safety of our children in schools is non-negotiable. We call on the government to enhance security measures across all educational institutions to protect our children from abductions and other threats that have plagued various regions of the country. Securing our schools is essential to creating an environment where children can learn without fear.

“On this Children’s Day, let us renew our commitment to safeguarding the rights of every child, with a special focus on their right to education. By doing so, we not only secure their future but also the future of our nation. Together, let us work towards a Nigeria where every child is in school and every right is upheld.”

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