Parents of schoolchildren in Kaduna have cried out to the government to provide security in schools.
A parent, who identified himself simply as Umar, told correspondent on the telephone that before any of his four children would go back to school, he must see monumental change in the security situation in the state.
“I don’t have money for ransom. Government needs to ensure in schools so our children can learn safely,” he said.
Another parent, Mrs Okechukwu, a mother of two in Kaduna North, said, “None of my children will go anywhere before I am told stories.”
A lieutenant of the Nigerian Army, serving in Kaduna, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “With the rise in the cases of kidnapping and banditry in the north, the security situation in primary and secondary schools in Kaduna is very fragile.
“Security personnel should be deployed to these areas and given necessary ‘tools’, so as to assure the pupils and their parents that the government still cares about them; that is the best Children’s Day Gift to give any child right now.”
UNICEF urges protection of child rights
Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund has held an event in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, in commemoration of Nigerian Children’s Day.
In a statement on Wednesday, UNICEF’s Country Director, Peter Hawkins, said, “It has been a challenging year for us all with the COVID-19 pandemic, not least of all, Nigeria’s children, and I want to commend efforts at all levels of Nigerian government and society to protect education, health, and protection services in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children.
The organisations boss called on the public to remember that the COVID-19 crisis had affected children’s rights in Nigeria and around the world.
“On this Children’s Day, let us all agree that we cannot let one crisis compound another. The pandemic is threatening decades of progress we have made for children.
“Violence is perpetrated against one in four Nigerian children; we must commit to reinforce the protection mechanisms for all children and ensure they have quality education.
“As we celebrate our children today, we must act in their best interests and deploy innovative solutions to fast-track learning and health services for every Nigerian child,” the statement added.