Wife of Lagos State governor, Bolanle Ambode, says there is still hope for the Nigerian child despite challenges.
Ambode, who spoke at the celebration of the 2017 International Day of the African Child, organised by the African Women Lawyers’ Association, at the weekend, said notwithstanding the challenges facing the children in some areas, there were sufficient reasons to believe in the realisation of the 2030 continental agenda for sustainable development of the African child.
Ambode said since the annual celebration of the day began in 1991, marginal successes had been recorded in overall improvement of circumstances around the children across Africa, noting however, that the state government was working to remove all impediments in the way of their fulfilment.
She said the theme of this year’s celebration: ‘accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity for children in Africa by 2030,’ gave the needed reassurance, that our country was at work on the great agenda, to take the children to where they ought to be.
“Lagos State has continued to open employment opportunities for children through education and sports. Inter-school sports competitions have been re-introduced among primary and secondary schools. This is intended to catch them young for sporting glory, and expose them to global opportunities for fame, wealth and fulfilment,” she said.
The governor’s wife, who listed other child-friendly achievements of the state government to include the passage of the Child Right Law, family courts and inter-school sports competition, promised that the government would do more to get fulfilment for children in the state.
She commended the African Women Lawyers’ Association for their efforts and called on forward-looking bodies to partner the government to improve the welfare of children.
Corroborating her, the permanent secretary and solicitor general, Ministry of Justice, Funmilola Odunlami, said the event must serve as a constant reminder of the duty parents owe their children.
This administration remains committed to helping children get fulfilment in an environment free of neglect, abuse and violent exploitation, Odunlami said.
“We have invested huge resources in the provision and upgrading of infrastructure in our schools to create a conducive learning environment. We believe that quality education is the most powerful tool for empowerment and creation of equal opportunities in a competitive and knowledge-driven 21st Century.
“This historic event must serve as a constant reminder of the duty we owe our children to guarantee them, a better future in an increasingly competitive and knowledge-driven global system. This celebration therefore provides us the opportunity to restate our commitment to the protection of our children and also provide them all the opportunities that they require to release their full potentials,” Odunlami said.
Other speakers, Shina Sofola and Chetanna Amaza, urged children to boldly voice out any ills committed against them while urging them to be diligent and hardworking to achieve success.
June 16 every year is observed as the International Day of the African Child, to raise awareness on the plight of children in Africa.