Children within Kaduna State metropolis have called on government to provide and improve on their social needs in order to make them better.
They called on government to improve on the education sector particularly the public schools.
The Children were speaking at an event to celebrate the African Child organised by an NGO, Plan International in Kaduna.
A 12 year old child, Isreal Joseph who attends a public school, pleaded with government to provide them with toilets, portable water and learning materials.
“In my school, Kurmin Gwari in Kaduna, we are forty in the classroom and our roofs are damaged. We are affected by rainfall during school hours. We also do not have toilets and water,” Joseph said.
Freedom to Good Life
Other children interviewed by Voice of Nigeria who are mostly in private schools spoke on the need for government to improve on healthcare services, better education, protection of their lives and freedom to good life.
Another child, Asma’u Jalal who is 7 years of age called on government to improve on security.
“My Mum works in Abuja and there are kidnappers on the road, i want the governor to secure the road to save people.”
Dangers of Hawking
Some other children in senior secondary school spoke on the dangers of hawking which prevents other children from acquiring basic education and making them responsible citizens in future.
“As an African child, i dream to be great, beautiful inside out, successful, and most importantly, a better Nigerian when I grow older. Parents should please endeavour to cater for their wards and give them the best education,”
In an interview with the Executive Vice Chairperson, Kaduna Peace Commission, Priscilla Ankut said there was hope for the African Child because they are accorded priority in events of humanitarian crisis as the impact of violence on children is most times higher than other groups.
According to her, “Children are challenged around nutrition, healthcare, education, the right to play and develop healthy. And because there is experience in these challenges, we risk lossing an entire generation if we don’t put them first. Hence the concerted efforts to call on government to focus on putting children first in the relevant sectors.”
Ankut therefore called on parents to enroll their children in schools, saying there are several situations where government actually provides opportunities for free education in public schools but parents refuse to enroll them.
“From the peace building background I belong, I always call on children to recognize their duties to their parents and the society and also obey all rules set for them. All children need to relate well with one another irrespective of their social class. A Christian child must have a Muslim friend and vice versa so that the social relationship restored can be a step towards ending reoccurring crisis in our societies,” she added.
The Senior Advocacy and Gender Adviser of Save the Children Foundation, Ramatu Aliyu, explained that, Day of the African Child was specially set aside to remind people on the importance of every child and the challenges they face.
She stated that the day was also set aside for discussion with various stakeholder to strategise on ways to better the lives of African children.
“I call on government to do more beyond providing social services but providing basic necessity such as food and shelter,” Ramatu added.
The organisers, Plan International is an NGO that advances children’s right and equality for girls.