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UNICEF Calls For Unity To Protect Children


UNICEF Calls For Unity To Protect Children

As the world celebrates Children’s Day today, the United Nations Chilfren Fund (UNICEF) has called for collective responsibility in the protection of children.
The organisation said the collective includes the family, community, society and the state.
A statement yesterday in Abuja by the UNICEF’s Communications Specialist, Mr Geoffrey Njoku stated that, “Every day in the media we hear of one form of abuse or the other against children, rape of under aged children, child trafficking and so on.”
According to him,  the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls recently underscores the urgent need for collective action, saying, “ We need to create a protective environment for our children to ensure a bright future for them.”
Njoku noted that the protective environment is based on the recognition that all children are entitled to protection – as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Nigeria’s Child’s Rights Act 2003.
“All children have a right to grow up in an environment that ensures their protection. UNICEF helps to create a protective environment for a child which fortifies them against abuse in the same way that good nutrition and good health care fortifies them against disease. We are working with the Nigeria Police, the immigration service, the Federal Ministries, departments and agencies to achieve this.”
According to the Communications Specialist, “Our best efforts in survival and development will come to nought if the child is abused later in life, put in harm’s way through abduction and trafficking. Even strong, healthy children can be victims of abuse.”
He added that a  well-nourished and immunized child who is beaten is not a healthy child and that a  young girl in school is likely to be not well educated if she is sexually abused by her teacher  as she would drop out of school.
The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough added that the fear of abduction will erode all the gains made in girls’ education.
She said,  ‘Let us all work together, collectively to ensure that our children are protected against harm so they can grow into productive adults who will contribute to the development of Nigeria in future’.”
Mark calls for sober reflection, warns abductors to free Chibok girls
President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has called for prayers for the survival of the Nigerian child from becoming an endangered species in the hands of abductors and kidnappers.
In a statement signed by his chief Press Secretary Paul Mumeh, Mark said the situation calls for sober reflection on the way forward as he cannot rationalize why the children who represents the future suddenly become the target of evil men in Nigeria.
In a goodwill message to mark this year’s Children’s day, Mark specifically lamented that over 200 Government Secondary School girls in Chibok, Borno State abducted by the dreaded Boko Haram sect are still held captives.
He said, “In spite of the outcry across the world on the abduction of the Chibokgirls, their captors remain adamant. This is inhuman, barbaric, insane and condemnable by all right thinking members of the human race”.
“As parents or guardians, we owe the children care and protection. How do we explain to generations yet unborn that our girls abducted from their school by unknown persons are still being held more than one month after.
“This is a challenge to all of us. We cannot fail these children . All of us must put on our thinking caps and strategize on the way out.”
He urged Nigerians to put aside religious , political or ethnic considerations and adorn the jersey of one united Nigeria in the battle against insurgents adding “ With the cooperation and collective will of all of us , we shall over come.”
Mark recalled that it was in realization of the dangers faced by children in today’s world and the need to address same that that National Assembly passed the Child Right Act into law.
He pleaded with some state governments yet to implement the child rights law to do so without further delay.

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