It is a great privilege and honor to be here today to mark the annual occasion of children’s day in Nigeria.
Today is a special day to commemorate and celebrate the children. Beyond the celebration, it is also a day when organizations reflect on the plight of children in society and the efforts by government and non-government agencies to improve the wellbeing and welfare of the child.
The African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”, enjoins us to work together to give good quality training to our children in order to prepare them for leadership roles in society.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989, Nigerian Child Rights Act of 2003, and the Childs Right Laws of various states affirm that every child:
shall be given such protection and care as is necessary for the well-being of the child,
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has inalienable right “to survival and development,
shall not be subjected to any form of injury, abuse, neglect or maltreatment.
This day affords us the opportunity to increase awareness of these rights and many more of the children.
In recent times, issues bordering on the kidnapping of schoolchildren, sexual and domestic abuse of children have been on the front burner, with child rights advocates intensifying efforts to ensure that the dreams of our children are not cut short unjustly.
We at AWLA, stand to protect, promote and preserve the rights of children. We are committed to ensuring that children are protected from violence in all forms, abuse, and exploitation against them, and, that their environment is safe enough for them to discover their full potentials, pursue their dreams and grow into responsible citizens.
We call on the security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and the society at large to step up to the plate and check the unpleasant increase of violence against our children. We cannot allow the fear of being kidnapped and/or assaulted to weaken the aspirations and dreams of these children.
To our young ones, I implore you to apply your God-given energy and talent to responsible ventures.
You should understand that age is no barrier to the realization of your full potential. Avoid bad company, unproductive habits, and meaningless outings.
As I like to put it, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Education (after God, that is) and all other things shall be added to you”. The path to success is not easy but honest hard work will see you through. Do not allow your circumstance to hinder your progress for where there is a will, there is a way!
To our teachers, Caregivers, and everyone saddled with the task of molding them – we thank you for your efforts in ensuring that the well-being of these children under your care, are well taken care of and pray that the good Lord who sees in secret, who rewards will continue to reward you for the wonderful job that you are doing”.
We wish Nigerian children and others a happy celebration.
PRESIDENT AWLA (NIG)
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