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Ministry reviews children’s parliament constitution to boost decision making

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Pauline Tallen
Pauline Tallen
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The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development says the review of constitution and standing order of the Nigeria Children’s Parliament (NCP) will boost decision making that concerns children.

Mrs Jummai Mohammed, the Director, Child Development in the ministry, said this in Nasarawa on Wednesday during the review meeting of the Constitution and Standing Order of the NCP.

Mohammed said that Nigeria ratified the UN Convention on the Right Act (UNCRC) in 1991 and passed the Child Rights Act in July 2003.

According to her, Nigerian government signified her agreement to be legally bound by the terms of the convention by ratifying the UNCRC.

She added that “Article 12 of the convention states that children have the right to participate in decision making process that may be relevant to their lives.

“That children will influence decisions taken in their best interest.”

The director explained that the article also indicated that children needed to be involved in the process of realising their rights.

She noted that government established the children’s parliament to give them the opportunity to express themselves and establish a foundation for a more democratic process for their future.

Mohammed said the ministry ensured that the parliament cut across the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with gender balance.

She added that in the course of the election of the fourth National Children’s Parliament in 2008, it was discovered that the guidelines were ambiguous.

She noted that the ministry, with support from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other stakeholders held series of meetings which led to the development of the Constitution and Standing Order of the NCP in 2009.

Mr Amanuel Mamo, the Director of Advocacy and Campaign, Save the Children, a Non-Governmental Organisation, said that the group was able to establish the parliament in Borno and Gombe states after 10 years of security crisis, saying that “children could now speak for themselves on issues affecting them.”

He, therefore, urged participants at the review meeting to come up with workable outcomes that could be used for children.

Mamo promised to partner relevant stakeholders to ensure that children’s rights were upheld.(NAN)

 

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Children

CHILDREN’S DAY: SANWO-OLU REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO BETTER FUTURE FOR CHILDREN  

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has reaffirmed the commitment of Lagos State to providing all necessary tools and institutional support for the attainment of a better future for children in the State.

Sanwo-Olu spoke during the Children’s Day celebration at the Polic College Parade Ground in Ikeja, promising that his administration will continue to invest in education while maintaining and initiating various programmes to develop and boost human capital within the school environment.

Revealing that his administration has addressed infrastructure deficit in schools and introduced technology with the supply of e-Leaning devices to enhance teaching, Sanwo-Olu added that the capacity of teachers has been upscaled to further improve the quality of education among other key innovations.

The Governor, who was represented at the event by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folasade Sherifat Jaji, noted that the theme for the Year 2022 celebration: “A Better Future for Every Child”, highlights the principles of the convention on the rights of the child that all children, irrespective of their status and present global situation, should enjoy their rights to survival and development for a better future.

He said, “Children are falling victim of many social vices like child abuse, rape, drug abuse, hard labour, violence and are denied the opportunity to enjoy a healthy life, parents’ love and commitment. Therefore, this day gives us an opportunity to reflect and renew our commitment to building a society that will guarantee them a better future”.

The Governor charged parents and guardians to protect their wards and direct them towards a promising future, emphasising that the State will continue to unfold initiatives and intervention programmes that promote the Child Rights’ Protection Law.

Advising the children to strive for the best and take their academics very serious, Sanwo-Olu maintained that education remains a veritable tool for greatness and, therefore, gave an assurance that his administration will maximise investment in the sector by providing modern technology to enhance learning, creativity and critical thinking.

He highlighted the various innovations and investments by his administration ranging from commissioning over 1,449 projects in 1,036 schools across all 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs, including construction, renovation, and rehabilitation of dilapidated public schools and supply of composite units of furniture, among others.

“Through the Eko Excel Programme, we have trained over 15,000 primary school teachers and empowered over 450,000 pupils with personal e-Learning Devices.

The State Government has also intensified efforts through the Project Zero Programme to curb the rate of out-of-school children and brought back those who had left”, Sanwo-Olu said.

While informing that his administration has established 12 comprehensive programmes for Secondary School Students across the State in the pilot phase, the Governor noted that the model provides an opportunity for students to learn a range of vocational skills alongside the normal school curriculum.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed the intention of the State Government to increase the number of schools to 50 before the end of the year.

Earlier in her welcome remarks, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, appreciated the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanw-Olu, who is also the team leader of the Greater Lagos vision, for his genuine interest in the education, welfare and comfort of every child in the State and for the approval to always celebrate the children through weeklong activities of various educative and entertaining programmes to impart knowledge.

“The entire education family of Lagos State thank you for your passion and investment in the future of all the children of Lagos State, irrespective of the circumstances of birth, especially by ensuring a level playing ground for all to nurture and grow their knowledge in pursuit of a better tomorrow”, she said.

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OMO-AGEGE MAKES CASE FOR GIRL-CHILD DEVELOPMENT

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Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo -Agege
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As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said that every girl-child should be given the opportunity to harness and realise their full potentials in life.

Senator Omo-Agege stated this in Abuja on Monday in his goodwill message to commemorate this year’s International Day of the Girl Child.

The event was organised by the Federal Ministry of Education.

The Deputy President of the Senate described the theme of the celebration: ‘Digital generation. Our generation’ as apt and encouraged every girl-child in the country to remain confident and focused in the pursuit of their goals.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Otive Igbuzor, the Delta Central lawmaker restated the commitment of the National Assembly to always make good laws meant to eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl-child..

“On the side of the legislature which I represent, we have not been resting on our oars. Firstly, Nigeria is signatory to typical international charters that seek to protect the girl child. These include the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 1979, among others.

“Secondly, we have a collection of statutes that address issues of discrimination and undue restriction of the girl. They include the Child Rights Act (2003) with specific clauses that protect the girl child; the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (2015), also with specific clauses that protect women from violence that could undermine their psyche and self-worth, among others.

“We are also aware of the popular Bill for an Act to prevent, prohibit and redress Sexual Harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters concerned therewith (2019), which I had the privilege to sponsor. As we know, the Bill has already been passed by the Senate and is now only awaiting the concurrence of the House of Representative,” Omo-Agege said.

The senator made a case for more girls to be part of the new technology culture, adding that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) should not be dominated by boys.

Commemorated on October 11 yearly, the International Day of the Girl-Child is a day set aside by the United Nations to celebrate the girl child while delibrating on issues affecting their development.

 

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FG committed to protection of children, schools – Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
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The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to the protection of children in schools across the country.

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo made the pledge at a three-day intensive workshop on Advocacy, Girls’ Education and School Safety, organised by the Malala Fund, on Monday in Abuja.

Osinbajo, represented by Dr Fatima Waziri, Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), renewed government commitment towards education development in Nigeria.

Osinbajo said that was why education had one of the highest allocation in the national budget.

He said the government was working hard to close the gap of equality created by COVID-19 that made it difficult for girls to go to school.

“Government is here to support the girl child in every way it can.

“COVID-19 reinforced many gaps in education and made it difficult for girls especially to access healthcare and education.

“The drop in income for most families around the world will mean that families making choices will almost make choices that will disfavour the girl child.

“As schools remained closed during the pandemic, students education suffered while girls are more likely to drop out of school and not return but government recognised that the best interest of a child is paramount,” he said.

The Vice President noted that the need by government to improve access to education especially for the girl child was recently demonstrated by the ratification of the safe school Declaration.

He said the government would put in place a national policy to guide its implementation to protect children from attacks in schools.

Osinbajo said that Nigeria would continue to enact laws and policies to ensure children were protected and have access to education.

Also speaking at the event, a coalition of girls assembled by Malala Fund and Partners called on the Federal Government and its parastatals, security agencies and states to take necessary steps to ensure adequate protection for girls while in schools.

Miss Ugbedeojo Agamah, from Oprite Christian International School, Kurudu, Abuja, and spokesperson of the group, said there was need for the government and other stakeholders to scale up efforts to ameliorate the plight of girls in Nigeria .

According to Agamah, the girls demanded that relevant personnel should be engaged to effectively manage times of conflict in a way that enabled schools to remain unaffected.

“We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government, Ministry of Education, Women Affairs, Defense, security agencies and NAPTIP take the necessary actions to scale up all security efforts.

“They should ensure that decision makers take immediate steps to provide alternatives to keep students learning.

“Investing in making the school premises safer for girls to remain in school unharmed and ensuring their safety while going to school, at school and returning from school.

“We decide to join forces to ensure we achieve safer schools for girls by 2030.’’

Agamah said that the girls believed that educating a girl child prepared her to face the reality of her society and empowered her to contribute positively to the nation .

She said that prior to COVID-19 and the recent increased attacks on schools, nearly two out of three, about 6.34 million of the country’s 10.2 million out-of-school children were girls.

She said that at the start of 2020, over 935 schools in the Northeast were closed due to attacks, adding that many more schools were now closed across the north due to insecurity .

She said that evidence showed that girls were more vulnerable in the face of prolonged school closures.

Agamah said that although Nigeria was a signatory to several regional and international human rights instruments that affirmed the rights to education, the country had no constitutional guarantee to access safe, free and compulsory education.

Also speaking, Ms Omojola Tamilore from the University of Ibadan, said that the workshop was aimed at enhancing girls advocacy capacity on socio-cultural issues affecting girls in Nigeria .

Tamilore said that the workshop with the theme “Advocating for Safer Schools for Girls”, empowered the girls to learn and lead. (NAN)

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