A Non-Governmental organisation, the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to enact policies that would make life bearable for children. This is coming on the heels of the recent commemoration of the World Children’s Day and the first anniversary of Buhari’s presidency.
In a statement, CEE-HOPE decried the general impoverished state of the citizenry which it blamed on government’s hasty actions or inactions which it said, have hurt the economy.
“It is not a secret that our economy is in a bad shape or that children are the hardest hit. Only a few days ago, a national daily reported the case of a grandmother seen roaming a city in the South-West with her seven grandchildren for days, begging for food. That is the incontrovertible reality for many families’, said Betty Abah, CEE-HOPE’s Executive Director. “We are very pained that there have not been clear-cut policies, provisions or palliatives to cushion the effects of these glaring economic hardship on the most vulnerable especially children.
“Rather than sympathise sincerely with the groaning populace, the government continues to turn an insensitive back or push the blame on the last government, one clear year after it took over the reins of power and should take responsibility for our welfare,” Abah added.
She continued: “And where policies seem to abide, they are vague and or ill-though-out, she claimed. She cited the example of the government’s school feeding program in which the government plans to feed school children nationwide with wheat in place of more nourishing local alternatives like moin-moin or akara.
“Nigerian children are some of the most endangered in the world by global statistics and everyday reality. Nigeria has the highest rate of out-of-school children and while millions of children especially in the North are just recovering from the deadly impacts of Boko Haram’s onslaught, economic downturn is again pressing hard against them. Nigerian children have seen so much. What they haven’t seen is conscientious policies by government to address his/her parlous state.
“How can we not anticipate a future of angry citizens when we leave the children of today hungry, haggard and at the mercy of the elements.
“Children are being slaughtered in many corners of the country by herdsmen yet not a single one of them have been brought to book, why is that so?
“We cannot pretend that all is well”, said Abah. “We expected so much from this government but one year on, things are worse off and our children are not any better. We however believe that where there is a policy will, then there will be a way out. The Nigerian child deserves protection, welfare, educational empowerment and a sense of belonging, and all these are well within the capabilities and constitutional of our government to provide. This administration can do much better. Our children are our future.”