Nigeria: Children Still Lack Access to Health, Education, Unicef Insists

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Abuja — The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) yesterday said in spite of advances made over the last years, Nigerian children still lack access to health, nutrition, education and other basic rights.

UNICEF's new Country Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, who stated this in a massage to commemorate the 2019 Nigerian Children's Day, noted that more children now live healthy lives, learn in schools and have a voice in their communities than ever before.

"But much more needs to be done as children's rights continue to be unfulfilled and threatened daily around the world and in Nigeria. There are still too many children being left behind and too many childhoods cut short by violence, conflict, poverty and inequality.

"At this year's Nigerian Children's Day, we must look ahead to the future of childhood in this country and re-commit to urgent, specific actions to protect the rights of every child - now and in future," he stated.

Hawkins pointed out that the most disadvantaged children in the country suffer the greatest challenge in fulfillment of their rights, adding that Child rights would only be fully realised when every government and every citizen are aware of and uphold children's rights and every child could claim those rights.

He added that as part of the celebrations, UNICEF has launched Passport to Your Rights- a copy of the CRC in child-friendly languages and in pocket format to ensure that every Nigerian child has a copy by 2030, being the deadline for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He noted that the CRC 'passport' would also be available in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin languages, helping to ensure access by millions of Nigerians.

"This is why we are launching the For Every Child, Every Right campaign and will work closely with the government to ensure that all Nigerians are aware of children's rights.

"This includes in particular children themselves. Nigerian Children's Day 2019 falls on the 30th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is being commemorated this year around the world.

"30 years ago, world leaders came together for the world's children. They made a promise to every child to protect and fulfill their rights, by adopting the UN's Convention on the rights of the child.

The Convention established childhood as a period separate from adulthood-a time in which children should grow, learn, play, develop and flourish," he said.

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