By Edoamaowo Udeme
The Association for Orphans and Vulnerable Children NGOs in Nigeria (AONN) in collaboration with FCTA- Social Development Secretariat in a press briefing to commemorate the 2018 Day of the African Child (DAC) revealed that, out of 17.5 million children, about 70,000 of them are vulnerable in FCT alone.
Speaking at the event yesterday in Abuja with the theme; “Leave no child behind for Africa’s Development”, The AONN FCT Coordinator, Aji Robinson stressed the need for a place in the FCT to be recognized as the child friendly home for the children.
“AONN Believes that Orphans and Vulnerable Children should have access to the basic needs of life through a well coordinated, articulate, and knowledgeable organisations in an enabling legal and socio-economic environment”
While appreciating the the 2003 Child Rights Act is being domesticated, Aji said “Significant positive outcomes for children have been recorded across the country, this include; policy formation, increased school attendance rates, increased access to basic services and decreasing gender disparity”
She noted that “Attention should be given to the full implimentation of these policies and identify the significant proportions of vulnerable children who remain left behind in a range of areas, this include children with disabilities, sexually exploited, in conflict with the law and internally displaced ones”
The National Coordinator of AONN, Barrister Mrs Grace Dafil said ” I am a mother to over 17.5 million Orphans and Vulnerable Children based on the National situation assessment survey carried out by the Federal Ministry of of Women Affairs in 2008″
Speaking on the impact of the days’ progranmme, Dafil said “The children will go home more knowledgeable on their rights and will be more conscious on what it takes to maintain those rights as well as become ambassadors in their respective community especially, to other kids who are not here today”
The Director, Gender Development Department of the FCTA-Social Development Secretariat, Agnes Uta-Hart, in her remark stressed that DAC was set aside by Africa Union “Not only in commemoration of children killed in Soweto uprising in South Africa in 1974, but to bring to limelight, concerns of children with the purview of preferring solutions to them”
“Surprisingly, those things that happened in South Africa then is still happening now, so, we need to create awareness, hear the children’s voices and feel their pulse and be part of development” said Hart
“In Achieving SDGs, every child has the right to contribute to national development irrespective of their circumstances, all that is needed is to develop and harness these porentials, that is why we are collaborating with NGOs to achieve this feat” Hart added
In Soweto, South Africa, on June 16, 1976, about ten thousand black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language . Hundreds of young students were shot. More than a hundred people were killed in the protests of the following two weeks, and more than a thousand were injured.