Fred Ezeh, Abuja
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it has observed that too many young Nigerians don’t have quality education, capacity and skills that would prepare them for modern jobs and business opportunities in highly competitive global markets.
It also observed that children in families with low income are left behind and they miss out on opportunities that are easily afforded to children in wealthier families.
UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, who spoke at the end of national children’s art, science and technology expo in Abuja, on Thursday, said that these underprivileged children are kept in a “poverty trap” that determined entirely by the family he or she was born into.
The children art and science expo that was organised by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) attracted participation from school children across Nigeria who presented their creativity for global view and appreciation.
The UNICEF Country Representative in his remarks, said that technological advancements have also, dramatically shaped lives and opportunities. “More of you are going online than ever before. But your safety online must be a priority to all.
“We want to see Nigerian children engage and interact with their world, express their views using modern technology. But there are risks which we must all know. It ranges from online bullying to violation of privacy that are often not clear at all.”
He said that since the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which was launched 30 years ago, the document has provided opportunity for improved life for children across the globe.
He said: “The CRC document became the most widely accepted human rights treaty in history, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child recognised the important children’s right.
“More children globally are getting increased access to healthcare and nutrition that are required for good and healthy life. More have voice to speak in their communities, participating in shaping things in communities.”
However, the UNICEF Country Representative was unhappy that, in spite of success of CRC globally, rights of millions of Nigerian children are still being violated.
“Too many children are still subjected to violence, discrimination or exploitation. They are hungry, lack formal basic education especially girls. Too many are robbed of their childhood due to conflict and insecurity,” he added.