By Seyifunmi Odunuga
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, said that his administration will continue to protect the rights of Children in the state.
Seyi Makinde who was represented by the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Hon. Seun Fakorede, at the 2021 National Children’s Day Celebration, held at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Oke-Ado, Ibadan, stated that the state government will enhance the operations of the Child Rights Law.
The Governor equally maintained that his administration will remain proactive in alleviating the problems of the less privileged, including orphans and other vulnerable children in the state through different intervention programmes.
Makinde said: “It gives me great pleasure to be in your midst today at this auspicious celebration of National Children’s Day, an event celebrated on May 27. It is a special day set aside in compliance with United Nations Resolution to raise awareness on the situation and needs of children and to promote interventions that will lead to an improvement in their welfare and development.
“It is a day when all Nigerian Children are celebrated and efforts are made to ensure that their rights to Survival, Protection, Development and Participation as enshrined in the Child Rights Law are enhanced.
“Let me, at this point, assure you that the state government, under this administration, will not relent in its efforts in protecting the rights of children and alleviating the challenges of the less privileged and other vulnerables in the State.”
While wishing the children a happy Children’s Day Celebration, the governor urged them to rededicate themselves to being responsible citizens by respecting their parents, teachers, elders and authority and shun all acts of social vices.
‘Seyi Makinde expressed satisfaction on the theme for this year’s celebration, “Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Total Well-being Of The Nigerian Child: The Way Forward,” saying it could not have come at a better time as it is in line with the current global realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is important to state that COVID-19 was declared by World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, which has virtually overwhelmed every sector in resource-rich countries of the world and gradually enveloped almost all countries in Africa. African leaders are currently grappling with the effects of the virus on the children and they should not be the hidden victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“According to the World Health Organization, the global socio-economic crisis caused by the pandemic could push 142 million children into monetary poor families according to projections as of November, 2020.
“The total number of these children globally could reach over 725 million in the absence of any mitigating policies. Approximately 150million additional children are living in multidimensional poverty – without access to education, health care, housing, nutrition, sanitation, etc. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the analysis carried out by Save the Children and UNICEF.
“Over the years, Oyo State has been celebrating Children’s Day in a grand style except last year which was celebrated virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic’s lock down, social distancing and gathering of not more than 20 persons that you are all aware.”
Speaking further, the governor called on the parents not to expose their children to child labour, kidnapping, rape, malnutrition and all forms of abuses.
He added that parents must ensure they put in place some measure to help break the vicious cycle of inequality among all groups of children.
In his words: “The world of tomorrow cannot prosper if children of today are not healthy, educated and protected because lack of investments in quality services for children are one of the key barriers that prevent many children from reaching their full potentials.
He called on children not to relent in ensuring that precautionary measures are adhered to in preventing themselves from being infected by this virus through continuous hand washing routine, use of hand sanitizers, facemasks, avoiding large social gatherings and touching their faces, eyes, noses and mouths.
“My dear children, do not relent in ensuring that precautionary measures are adhered to in preventing yourselves from being infected by this virus through the continuous hand washing routine, use of hand sanitizers, facemasks, avoiding large social gatherings and touching your faces, eyes, noses and mouths. May God protect us all from the infection of the virus and we pray that those that have been infected by the virus, be healed by the Almighty God,” Gov. Makinde said.
Similarly, he appreciated the efforts of parents, school teachers, religious leaders, and other relevant stakeholders in the state who have supported the government in curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to appreciate parents, school teachers, religious leaders and other relevant stakeholders in the state and country as a whole, who have supported the government in curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic in our state and urge you all not to relent in ensuring that the rights of these Nigerians are not trampled upon as they are the leaders of tomorrow,” Seyi Makinde stated.