Nigeria – In compliance with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of 1954 on Universal Children’s Day Celebration, Anambra State is joining other states in the federation to celebrate our Children and, as always, pay tribute to all children in the World, especially those that paid the supreme price in Soweto, South Africa.
This day is always unique, because it serves as an invitation to deeply reflect on challenges children are facing. A glance at this year’s theme, “Effect of COVID-19 on the Total Wellbeing of Children, the Way Forward”, provides an insight into emerging challenges faced by Children.
COVID-19 has, indeed, exacerbated the many challenges ranging from child molestation, rape, deprivation, child labour and the increasing incident of child abuse. The day therefore provides a unique opportunity to re-evaluate actions taken as policy makers, guardians and parents, in addressing these challenges faced by our future leaders, especially in this abnormal period of the “new normal”. How far have we collectively created a safe space for our children?
Year 2020 was considered a year of socio economic restrictions. The year crippled socio economic activities; as a result, more families were thrown into the poverty net. Hunger breaded frustration, and frustration increased violent conduct, which of course, increased domestic violence.
Records show that increasing number of couples needed a break from their marriages; broken homes became part of the new normal. The worst hit, with its attendant negative psychological effect, are our children.
Thankfully, in the midst of the crisis, Governor Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike Global) has continued to show love to our children, by ensuring that the adverse effect of COVID-19 is reduced on the children. Additionally, the youth and child-friendly governor of Anambra State has continued to push the bars of limitation by ensuring prompt payment of salaries to parents, to ensure that they meet their obligation to their children.
Others are continuous upgrade and repair of school infrastructure to ensure conducive learning environment for our Children, provision of palliatives to vulnerable groups, strengthening of relevant agencies of government to ensure enforcement of the rights of the Children, as well as working closely with the Judiciary to ensure justice for victims of rape and child molestation.
Akpokuedike has ensured sustenance of good maternal and child healthcare programmes, and ensuring increasing number of Ndi Anambra benefit from the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme as well as effective partnership with donor partners to ensure the establishment of correctional center for children in conflict with the Law, and supporting the functionality of the Sexual Assault and Referral Center at Enugwu-Ukwu General Hospital.
In addition, the wife of the Governor, Dr. Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) has continued to blaze the trail by providing Psycho-Socio Support, recognizing that skill provides a sustainable pathway out of poverty, using her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, CAFÉ, to train and empower more than 5,000 Ndi Anambra in various Skills, built over 27 houses for indigent widows and more than 50 boreholes & toilet facilities across various markets in the State.
In complimenting the efforts of the governor and his wife, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has continued to raid the streets to ensure that our children, who hitherto should be in school, are not used by anti-social agents of progress to perpetuate crime. It is worthy to note that these children, when raided, get rehabilitated before repatriation to their various States.
Ndi Anambra, as we celebrate another children’s day, we must continue to push beyond the limit in preserving and nurturing our future assets for a healthy and more productive society.
Special thanks goes to Governor Obiano and his caring, kindhearted and supportive wife, Dr Ebelechukwu Obiano, for their selfless support to community children homes in the state and their massive support to indigent and vulnerable groups. God bless the people’s Governor and his wife. God bless Anambra, the light of the nation. God bless our Children.
WRITTEN BY LADY NDIDI MEZUE