The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF has tasked Nigerian children to continue demanding their rights as their counterparts in other climes.
The children’s charity says it is inspired to further advocate for Nigerian children seeing that many are standing up to let their voices be heard.
The UNICEF Country Representative Peter Hawkins, who spoke at the end of national children’s art, science and technology expo in Abuja, said the calls have resulted in improved healthcare, education and respect for the rights of children.
The art and science expo was an opportunity for children across Nigeria to exhibit their creativity for global view and appreciation.
But despite these improvements, UNICEF says it is still worrisome that many young Nigerians do not have access to quality education and lack capacity or skills that could prepare them for the future.
It says children from low-income families are left behind and miss out on opportunities that could give them an edge in competitive global markets.
Peter Hawkins says these underprivileged children are kept in a “poverty trap” determined entirely by the family he or she was born into.
The UNICEF Country Representative in his remarks said that technological advancements have also, dramatically shaped lives and opportunities. “More of you are going online than ever before. But your safety online must be a priority to all.
“We want to see Nigerian children engage and interact with their world, express their views using modern technology. But there are risks which we must all know. It ranges from online bullying to violation of privacy that is often not clear at all.”
He said that since the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which was launched 30 years ago, the document has provided the opportunity for improved life for children across the globe.
He said: “The CRC document became the most widely accepted human rights treaty in history, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child recognized the important children’s rights.
“More children globally are getting increased access to healthcare and nutrition that are required for a good and healthy life. More have voice to speak in their communities, participating in shaping things in communities.”
However, the UNICEF Country Representative was unhappy that, in spite of the success of CRC globally, the rights of millions of Nigerian children are still being violated.
“Too many children are still subjected to violence, discrimination or exploitation. They are hungry, lack formal basic education especially girls. Too many are robbed of their childhood due to conflict and insecurity,” he added.