The president’s wife, Aisha Buhari, called on parents, teachers and guardians to do more to protect the dignity, rights and privileges of children against all forms of aggression.

The first lady made the call on Wednesday at an event marking the Day of the African Child 2021 in Abuja. The theme of the celebration is “30 years after the adoption of the charter: accelerating the implementation of the 2040 agenda for an Africa fit for children”

Buhari, who was represented by the special assistant to the president on the mission of Peace of African First Ladies Dr. Mairo Almakura said that every child has the right to survive and thrive in the face of violence.

She said: “It is important to keep children informed of their fundamental rights as the leaders of tomorrow”. Bujari also informed the assembly that the reason for the event was to raise awareness for the restoration of the dignity of the African child by assessing their achievements and challenges.

“Many children in Africa are affected by different types of abuse such as sex discrimination, gender, limited access to health care, peddling among others,” she said.

She therefore urged all stakeholders to make concerted efforts to ensure the protection of the rights and privileges of the African child.

In her address, the coordinator of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, Ms Beatrice Bassey, congratulated the First Lady for her passion in supporting women and children.

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Bassey said the will and spirit of the African child would never be broken. Also speaking, the Speaker of the Street Children Parliament, Mr. Saifullah Khalil, expressed hope that the event will provide street children with a means to prosper. Khalil said he noted with concern that most interventions by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were simply restorative in nature.

“It is worrying that the majority of programs run by NGOs are restorative in nature, they serve children on a temporary basis by providing food, clothing from time to time.

“These initiatives must be complemented by programs that address the question of why children are in the streets,” he laments. He therefore urged relevant stakeholders to support street children.

“The authorities need to work with the Street Children Parliament to give street children not only a voice but a hope that will go beyond Africa.

“We all have one goal: to make sure that our children live in houses and not on the streets, remember that when the children are on the streets, the nation is on the streets.

“When hunger and anger hit the children on the streets, the people in the house will leave their homes and run through the streets to find safety,” he said.

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that since 1991, the Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 to commemorate the ten thousand black students killed in the Soweto uprising in South Africa, and to recognize the courage students who marched for their right to education (NAN)


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