Nigeria celebrated Children’s Day on May 27 with the theme: “Protect the rights of the child in the face of violence and insecurity: End child marriage.”

In light of the Children’s Day celebration, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF called on the Nigerian Federal Government to take actions and renew efforts toward ending all forms of violence against children.

UNICEF Nigeria through its representative, Jean Gough, noted that the theme of the day helps to shed a much needed light on the unprecedented levels of violence against children in Nigeria in the recent past and present.

He said, “despite the current economic and funding challenges facing our dear nation, my administration will continue to do all within its powers to achieve better living conditions and greater access to quality healthcare and education for all our youth.”

Speaking further, Gough said “in the North east, we have witnessed, and continue to witness grave violations of children’s rights – killings, abductions, sexual violence and use in suicide bombings by Boko Haram.”

He also noted that the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey carried out by the National Population Commission, with the support of UNICEF and US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and launched by the Government of Nigeria in 2015, highlighted the prevalence of sexual, physical, and emotional violence suffered by children in Nigeria.

According to UNICEF, more than 1.2 million children have been displaced in the North-East of the country.

Children’s Day which is celebrated on May 27 in Nigeria is a public holiday for Primary and Secondary school children.

Due to the large size of the country, only few group of children (schools or any other organization) are selected for a march past in a parade. Many private and public organizations usually put together children’s party for privileged and less privileged children in a bid to give them a sense of belonging.

It is also a day media organizations analyze the plight of children in the society and the efforts government and non government agencies make to better the lot of children.

Author: Ope Adedeji