The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen has called for renewed commitment to ensure children are given suitable opportunities and enabling environment to realize their potentials.
The Minister stated this at a joint press conference by the federal ministry of women affairs and the federal capital territory administration held at the Ministry’s headquarters, Abuja to kick start activities to the commemoration of the 2021 national children’s day on May 27th and world menstrual day celebration on May 28th, 2021.
She said the day is set aside by the federal government to raise awareness on the plight and needs of children, promote and protect their rights as well as ensure that issues and concerns relating to the wellbeing of children are constantly brought to the front burner of national attention and actions.
According to Dame Pauline the theme of this year’s edition “Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Total Wellbeing of the Child: The Way Forward.” was chosen to highlight the effects of Covid-19 on the wellbeing of the child, proffer solution as well as an assured future for them.
“The theme finds significance as it highlights the effects of COVID-19 on the wellbeing of the child, while seeking to proffer lasting solutions for the betterment and development of the Nigerian Children. It has often been said that Children are the leaders of tomorrow and the main foundation/pillar on which the sustainable development of every nation can be built. This informs the urgent need to adequately invest in their wellbeing and development to achieve the kind of future we visualise for the nation” She said.
” The pandemic has truly exposed children to increased risks of different levels of violence; including physical and emotional abuse, sexual and gender-based violence, online sexual exploitation. The economic vulnerability which led to closure of schools and disrupted economic activities no doubt increased the threat of child labour, child marriage, kidnapping for ransom, abduction and child trafficking, as well as increased Gender-Based Violence across the country.” The Minister added.
The Minister assured that they will continue to echo the fact that every child and young person in Nigeria is entitled to enjoy his/her fundamental human rights, as provided for in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dame Pauline further stated that some activities have been earmarked towards breaking the silence on Menstrual Hygiene issues, providing space for free expression of concerns and demands for supportive and protective environment for the effective and hygienic management of menstruation as well as educate the public, especially adolescent girls and women of reproductive age on appropriate means of managing their menstruation.
She said the theme for this year is “It’s time for Action” to ensure girls and women do not feel limited by their periods through increased education on Menstrual Hygiene.”
“We will also use this opportunity to highlight to the appropriate authorities, the danger the proposed National Diaper and Sanitary Pads Policy, which increases the import tariff on Diapers and Sanitary pads from 20% to 55% pose on Menstrual Hygiene Management. This Policy will no doubt affect the availability, affordability and acceptability of sanitary pads in the country”The Minister noted.
The Minister however appealed to perpetrators of kidnapping to listen to the cry of innocent Mothers and desist from the illicit act while she called on mothers to join in the crusade to bring about sanity in Nigeria’s polity.