By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged the Federal Government’s commitment to protecting children from sexual violence, domestic abuse, and exploitation.
Buhari’s pledge in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Monday comes as Nigeria joins the international community to celebrate the Day of the African Child.
The President also reiterated that the administration would continue to ensure that every Nigerian child had access to quality and affordable education.
He said that the objective would be pursued by promoting free and compulsory basic education for the first nine years of schooling.
President Buhari, who expressed concern over the recent spate of sexual and physical violence against the girl-child, directed relevant government agencies to scale up support for victims of violence and ensure that persons who infringed upon the rights of others faced the full weight of “our laws”.
According to him, it is the right of every Nigerian child to be protected from sexual or physical violence and abuse, and to enjoy an environment conducive for learning and development.
He further said that the safety of every Nigerian child remained paramount and that government would continue to do all within its means to protect children from violence and abuse.
The President acknowledged that this year’s commemorative activities with the theme, ”Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa,” had gone online due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
On the impact of the pandemic on the education sector, the President said that school-age children had been forced to continue education and learning online, as well as through the electronic media.
While acknowledging that not all children had access to the tools and resources to do that, the President assured Nigerians that the priority of the Federal Government was to ensure that things returned to normal as soon as possible.
He added that in dealing with the threat posed by the pandemic, “the Federal Government cannot allow education and learning to take the back seat.’’
The President, therefore, urged all Nigerians to take a moment “this day to celebrate the African child, who represents a better future for all of us.
“Nigeria is blessed with exceptional and remarkable children and this government is ever ready to help the Nigerian child achieve their dreams and build a better tomorrow.’’